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Review: 'See You Then' Presents a Complex Portrait of Womanhood

by Kilian Melloy
Friday Apr 16, 2021
'See You Then'
'See You Then'  

A sort of "Before Sunrise" - though a post-mortem of a relationship rather a prelude to one, and featuring a transgender twist - Mari Walker's "See You Then" follows Kris (Pooya Mohseni) and Naomi (Lynn Chen) as they attempt to reconnect despite the way things ended between them nearly a decade and a half earlier.

Naomi has hit pause on her career as a performance artist in favor of marriage, kids, and a career as an adjunct professor; Kris tells her that she hasn't "changed a bit," which is exactly the opposite of how Kris' life has unfolded. For her part, Kris is nothing like she used to be. Among other things, she's made the transition to female, an alteration in her life that's been personally liberating, but that Naomi only heard about thanks to mutual friends.

Though both women have moved on in life, in some ways they've been stuck all this time, and it's going to take a long evening of strolling, reminiscing, rubbing each other wrong, and arguing before they reach a point of resolution.

The film addresses issues that the trans community deals with, but reaches past those to address general women issues: being talked over during meetings, for instance, or being hit on and objectified, or having opinions and experiences discounted. For Naomi, that dissatisfaction shows up most glaringly in her marriage (her husband never leaves her alone and never shuts up), while Kris is still dealing with the shock of having lost the social currency of male privilege when she transitioned.

It's very clear that the movie operates from the conviction that trans women are women - and rightly so - but Walker and co-writer Kristen Uno touch upon some rich and unexpected aspects of this simple (yet, for many, confounding) truth. Naomi, with her two sons, wonders if she should have remained an aunt rather than becoming a mother; Kris, who can never give birth to a child of her own, is relegated to aunthood, and she's not sure if that will ever be enough.

A few men wander into the frame; illustrating the things Kris and Naomi are talking about. But the film is essentially a two-hander, remaining committed to the process Kris and Naomi go through to make their way to the crux of the matter: The relationship that Kris abandoned, and the way being abruptly deserted affected Naomi's life. "People break up every day," Kris cries out at one point, frustrated and emotionally bruised from Naomi's cataloging of her failures. "Why can't you move on with your life?" The answer the film guides them to is simple, but also hard: Scars can run deep, and sometimes putting on a happy face is never going to be enough.

"See You Then" streams as part of Outfest's Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival and OUTshine Film Festival.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


OUTshine 2021

This story is part of our special report titled "OUTshine 2021." Want to read more? Here's the full list.


Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival

This story is part of our special report titled "Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival ." Want to read more? Here's the full list.


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