A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The best inventions can have unintended negative consequences.
Positive Role Models
CJ is extremely smart and creative but has a bad temper, doesn't play well with others. Sebastian is a brilliant student and loyal best friend. Provides rare mainstream media examples of brilliant, high-achieving black teens. Calvin is a loving and protective older brother who feels responsible for his sister's welfare, especially since the death of their father.
Violence & Scariness
Police brutally treat all black citizens they encounter as if they are guilty of a crime. Police throw innocent kids face down to the ground, press their knees into the kids' backs. Innocent people get shot by police and by neighborhood thugs. Blood is seen. When CJ gets angry at people, she demonstrates her anger quickly and physically, hitting people and throwing things at them.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A guy claims to have been CJ's "first," presumably her first sexual partner. A boy helps CJ with her project in return for a date with her. A girl's ex-boyfriend blatantly French-kisses his new girlfriend to make the old one jealous. Guys objectify women and talk about wanting to "hit that s--t" (have sex with) certain girls.
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"F--k," "s--t," "damn," "ass," "d--k," and the "N" word.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that See You Yesterday is a teen-targeted drama that sets the problems of racist police brutality against a backdrop of sci-fi time travel. Two brilliant high school juniors use their time machine to try to go back in time to a moment before someone becomes the innocent victim of a fatal police shooting. The ethics and morality of time travel and attending unforeseen consequences are explored. Neighborhood kids fight and threaten each other, and two rob a bodega, which leads to police shooting an innocent man. Blood is seen. People cry at a funeral. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "damn," "d--k," and the "N" word. Guys objectify women and talk about wanting to "hit that s--t" (have sex with) certain girls. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
What this movie does extremely well is provide images lacking in the mainstream media: of brilliant black teens using their brains and creativity to excel academically and in the real world. But See You Yesterday can be confusing, as its tone changes drastically -- from a seeming lighthearted teen adventure story about a fantastic science project to a violent urban realist tragedy about innocent youths gunned down by police. The first part feels like Real Genius, emphasizing bright kids following their intellectual curiosity, so the frequent use of profane language in this section feels jarring.
One point the film makes well is that when the genius kids happen to be economically disadvantaged and black, the neighborhoods they go home to after a day at an elite school have as much influence on their lives as dreaming about how to put protons, the speed of light, and wormholes to use in cool world-changing inventions. So when the movie suddenly resembles Boyz n the Hood, the language and the fear of police brutality and street crime make sense. Each of the genres are done well, but they fight each other for dominance in this well-acted piece.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.