By Rachael Fisher
Vanishing Angle Productions tackles the story of two women in See You Then. The film opens with what appears to be old college friends catching up when one is back in town. The story is then taken for a spin when it’s revealed that the two had been lovers. Kris played by Pooya Mohensi has transitioned now as a transgender woman. The film tackles the trials and tribulations Kris went through before, during and after her transformation. However, her ex, Naomi, now sitting across from Kris, is still shattered from the moment her then boyfriend Kris left her without an explanation.
The idea was there, the concept was clear, however to me, as a whole, the film fell a little bit short. Towards the middle of the film, the scenes felt long and lost their momentum. The dialogue at times felt choppy and forced. In the beginning, the audience was left with just enough information to anticipate what was happening next and little enough for a surprise when things took a turn. After watching scene after scene, the audience can anticipate the tracks of the rollercoaster ahead of them. The cat and mouse game between the two characters became too much to where the stakes at the end fell flat, until Naomi’s final performance scene.
There were three great scenes that stood out. The first, the opening scene with the two at the restaurant; the second, in the art gallery; and the third, Naomi’s last performance. The last scene of Naomi’s performance was heart-touching. From the lighting, the rawness of Naomi’s tears to the art direction, the vision was clear and the lesson was learned. This was where the audience could see inside the brain and worry behind Naomi’s character. This uncovered the truths and everything was out in the open.
Lynn Chen’s performance as Naomi Liu was stellar. The inner conflict was there all along and throughout, her character was believable and understood. Chen was able to create so much more with her character. When the stakes started to fall flat between the characters, Chen’s motives kept them at the peak level. The audience can easily follow her growth throughout the film. Her character arc was especially clear through her performance from the beginning to the end. Chen’s passion was there and although her character may have been seen as standoffish at times, Chen’s heart of fire was unstoppable.
The lighting was another highlight. It truly complimented the actors. The tone was well reflected through the lighting choices from the well-lit cute cafe to the red and dark pinkish hues of the art scene. There was a sense of playfulness there. The lighting was a powerful part of this piece and at times, outdone the dialogue.
There was so much potential in a film with one or two breathtaking moments and such a strong message, however, there were many scenes that did not add to the characters. Watching this, audiences will be expecting more from the film itself until the end when the truth is revealed through the last two touching scenes – Naomi’s performance and Kris at the park. Overall, the challenges of each character, Kris and Naomi were something that needed to be on screen, the struggle of a transgender woman wanting kids and the ex-partner of the woman wanting answers. Although scenes were drawn out and the beats were repeated, the last few scenes were able to piece together a part of the missing puzzle.