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See You Tomorrow, Everyone – Review

by Olivia Saperstein

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Rather than go to school, Satoru stays home and repeats an obsessive compulsive routine each day, which culminates in his patrol, where he surveys each and every apartment in the complex to make sure everyone is safe at home each night. While this behavior seems odd to some, Satoru acting like a jester, he is never swayed, his focus fixed on protecting the projects at all costs.

Director Yoshihiro Nakamura is known for his stylized sets and authentic stories. Fantasia has seen him before with works like Fish Story (2008), and this year he has again returned for See You Tomorrow, Everyone, a persuasive tale that nearly reaches perfection. Gaku Hamada is Satoru, a quirky teen who refuses to leave the projects unto which he was born, yet as he ages it seems harder to remain within the small bubble that is his universe.

Nakamura’s style is reminiscent of Wes Anderson’s works, such as The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) and Moonrise Kingdom (2012), though his color palette is on the cloudier side. Satoru is set in his own ways, and oblivious to his difference. His life is scheduled on his own accord, which confirms a sense of maturity (that often trumps that of adults); he possesses both the discipline of a Chas Tenenbaum, and the assertion of a Sam Bishop. In conjunction with the 80’s setting, and dry, forthcoming dialogue, I felt a strange kinship with Nakamura; a Japanese film that borrows from Hollywood’s alternative features, rather than its shiny blockbusters.

The film follows Satoru from age 10, to 26, and while it may appear that he doesn’t change much on the exterior, the lessons he learns are concrete, and unmistakably more comical due to his cartoonish naivete. As Satoru ages he sets his sights on fighting, and practices routinely in his room. Once out fighting with his fellow teens, Satoru convinces them he won’t lose. But he is shocked to see something red on his arm. “Blood! I’m bleeding!” he screams. Clearly everything he has learned has been from the talking box in his living room.

Satoru’s exploration of his sexuality induces laughter as well, and is what defines the piece as “coming of age.” It’s fascinating to follow someone who’s perspective is so small as he navigates the changes of his body, and environment. But Satoru isn’t at all a Forrest Gump-like figure. He may exist within the realm of dissidence, but he carries a confidence and wisdom that is rivaled among other filmic figures.

Hamada’s performance is comical, but human. No shred of caricature or Kabuki swells within his veins–levity is actualized in how seriously he takes himself. As the narrator shares with us Satoru’s daily routine, I am brought back to the narrator in Moonrise Kingdom, sharing with us the history of the land. Then of course, Sam Bishop pitching his tent, and laying back reading a book, pipe in hand, like a true adult. Satoru behaves very much the same way, allotting himself “reading hour,” and running two laps around the projects each day.

While Satoru’s life may seem routine, the film denies any form of predictability. At moments it takes turns that we aren’t expecting from an ostensibly frothy picture. But alas, cachinnation can be deceiving, and as the film progresses and we move past that delicious layer of whipped cream, we are hit with the strong stuff: the realization that we must seek beyond the dimensions of normality, that trusting yourself can lead you to greatness, and that poison can invariably be turned into medicine, even if the in-between as manifested in shades of grey.

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Author: Olivia Saperstein

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