Mari Walker’s directorial debut See You Then follows former lovers Kris (Pooya Mohseni) and Naomi (Lynn Chen). They wander around their former college town, reminiscing about their murky and tender past.
Conceptually, See You Then is a deeply interesting and important film. Since their split, Kris has transitioned. That plot line makes See You Then a rare example of a character development driven piece that directly explores trans identity and being a woman in modern society.
It’s also a film that promotes trans talent—both Walker and Mohseni are trans. Yet these good intentions falter through clumsy dialogue. As the protagonists move from dramatically lit location to dramatically lit location, their conversation feels stifled as the writer is talking through them.
Personal opinions and buzzword phrases awkwardly push their way into monologues in a way that can feel deeply unnatural.
Walker fails to create an engaging and well‑developed study of character. And the emotional and nostalgic atmosphere necessary to carry a film that mostly consists of conversation fails to come to fruition.
The film’s tension builds to an inevitable eruption of resentment and name calling that feels somewhat unearned after its slow build up.
See You Then almost feels like a film written backwards, the final dramatic dialogues working as an eventual payoff rather than a satisfying conclusion.
A film that deserves its acclaim
The greater terror was internment
A story of excitement and fear