- Movie Rating -

See You Then (2022)

| April 1, 2022

Mari Walker’s See You Then has, to this point, been so compared with Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy that it almost seems like an afterthought to point it out.  Okay, yeah, the similarities are there.  Both are walk-and-talk dramas featuring lovers hashing out their problems while slipping their philosophies about life in between the conflict.  It’s a time constraint thing – the formula allows these people to lay bare their feelings and personal ideals in a space between twilight and sunrise over things that would fit into two years worth of couple’s therapy.

The deep-feelings binge in this case falls between Kris (Pooya Mohseni) and Naomi (Lynn Chen), former lovers who spent three years together before the former unexpectedly walked out.  Given that history, it is a bold move for Kris to, out of the blue, invite Naomi to dinner.  What ended things?  Why did Kris leave?  What will be the excuse?  Will it lead to to confrontation or reconciliation?  All of this is unpacked in an evenly-paced narrative which is remarkable given that it does so in the brisk running-time of 74-minutes.

Actually, I was relieved that Naomi didn’t drag things out.  Meeting up with Kris, there is a nervous approach, but sitting down to dinner she slips past the initial pleasantries and tries to get to what in the Sam Hill happened!  We learn early on that Kris is now a trans-woman and that her transition and point of crisis had a lot to do with her exit from the relationship.  If it sounds like I’m giving things away, I’m not.  There are buckets of information still to come.

What is remarkable is the way that Walker paces this film given the time constraint.  The film waffles back and forth between happy remembrances of Kris and Naomi’s college days to the paths that their lives took, landing them on the paths that they are taking now.  The conflict between them builds in between the practical and philosophical stuff.  There’s some weight between them, and eventually the hammer falls.

The climax, at their old alma mater ,takes place symbolically in a room being renovated and is actually where the movie is least effective.  All of the heavy stuff, all of the deepest hurt that existed between Kris and Naomi fall here, but unlike what preceded it, this section feels kind of perfunctory, like it has to happen in order to give us a heavy climax.  We’re getting close to the end of the movie, so something has to fall.

I didn’t like this approach.  Walker, up to that point, is the master of her instrument, allowing these two individuals and their words and experiences to guide us through the night.  I might have preferred a more life-goes-on ending, but I liked these two, I liked their connection, I liked their conversation.  I liked their night together.




About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2022) View IMDB Filed in: Drama