Mari Walker’s heartfelt and compelling directorial debut “See You Then” beholds a reunion between two individuals who were lovers in faculty, and have since gone on to stay totally different lives. Naomi (Lynn Chen) has misplaced a few of her creative and activist aptitude and is now a mom to 2 children, and a spouse in a wedding that sounds extra handy than it’s romantic. Kris (Pooya Mohseni) used to this point Naomi, till instantly ditching her years in the past with no clarification. Kris has transitioned up to now 12 months and realized in that timeframe that it wishes to be a girl. “We’ve got a lot to talk about,” their dialog begins, and it turns rapidly obvious that there’s at all times extra to their initially amiable chatter.
Written with balanced conciseness and spaciousness by Walker and Kristen Uno, “See You Then” is a dialogue-driven character examination that makes you need to know extra about Kris and Naomi, and doesn’t get caught up in exposition that will make extra clear the story’s intentions of bearing on the previous whereas reflecting the longer term. Probably the greatest issue in regards to the script is that its dialogue subjects pop up naturally, and fill in an emotional and historic area without dropping the pacing. Mohseni and Chen are a wonderful on-screen pair all through with their crisply edited banter, generally at odds with one another given the previous harm that Naomi remembers much more vividly than Kris. Mohseni’s real heat makes Kris’ defensiveness all the extra layered, exhibiting the tragedy in a significant connection that was almost misplaced endlessly.
As they sit and generally stroll, their discussions contact subjects that might be putting on their very own, like Naomi’s sensible life selections, Kris’ expertise from 12 months in the past in transitioning, and Kris’ want to develop into a mom. “See You Then” typically ambles into the spiky territory at any time when Naomi calls out Kris’ earlier actions again within the faculty days, as a part of an id that Kris has moved on from in solely sure methods. In the meantime, Naomi’s sullen ruminations about motherhood, drawn out by Kris, give loving area to the problems that include such a demanding position. Afterward in the evening, the 2 cease by to see Naomi’s children. When Naomi places certainly one of them on the mattress, you possibly can see their dialog in her troubled gaze as she appears to be like the sleeping little one.
You take pleasure in being within the firm of Kris and Naomi a lot that the inevitable climax—a thriller for a very long time as to what which maybe—is sort of dread. How may this film pull off a significant however inevitable conflict, given all of the tenderness from earlier than? But it surely does so fantastically, tying all the pieces along with particulars that have been in between the pauses of their conversations. And due to Naomi’s artistry background, it even unfolds with a visible backdrop that naturally provides a number of colors, the digital camera spinning around them. It’s a stylized departure from the beforehand restrained type, and it helps Walker’s selective however deliberate prospers additional depart their collective mark.
Like different nice walk-and-talk films, “See You Then” is informed with misleading ease—it makes a dialogue between two characters, with a number of areas and supporting characters (principally males who hit on Kris) look “easy,” regardless of the ambition. Walker and cinematographer Joseph T. Parrot are deeply in tune with how the slightest shot change or approach can affect the entire feeling of a second. It’s the distinction between watching Kris and Naomi frivolously banter at a sales space as silhouettes, with a static, secure digital camera, after which seeing them on the bar, the hand-held digital camera barely shaky, their dialog loosened up, the darkness pushed to the facet, by a 3rd or fourth spherical of drinks. The sullen beats between them then develop into much more noticeable, and the voyeurism of the film is all extra seductive.
With fascinating confidence, “See You Then” honors the gradual evolution of an extended speak, a lot that their literal pacing reads as its solely unnatural flourish—they take a number of minutes to stroll about two blocks. However that rhythm, of 1 step at a time, almost takes on a hypnotic impact. It forces the viewer to decelerate and drink all of it in, and concentrate on what Kris and Naomi usually are not saying to one another.
Now enjoying in chosen theaters and accessible on DVD and digital on April 19.