I’ll See You Around is a film oozing with abandoned potential, from the cast to the plot line, the film bleeds underwhelming. A complex drama film directed by Daniel Pfeffer and set in Ithaca, New York, stars Lucas Monroe as Lucas Monroe, a university student, following him through a day in his life. Filled with failed metaphoric value and the utilization of symbolism, Lucas is faced with crumbling relationships, whether it be with his brother, Kenji, his girlfriend, Mariah, his daughter, Zanura, or the mother of his daughter, Lazifa, and the ways he chooses to face them. Portrayed through diverse imagery and underlying emotion, the film becomes complex to a fault and messy in a catastrophically unintentional way, relying on the viewer’s perception too heavily. Illustrating a theme of ‘death arrives with rebirth’, educational, yet boring through Pfeffer’s depiction.
The film opens with a series of metaphors that bring a soon to lack value to the film. Pfeffer uses imagery as a form of symbolism, the simple effect of shot placement and teeth (yes, teeth), illustrate the thoughts of Lucas.
Character development barely arrives in a damaged form, some characters receiving it without context, and others are shortcoming. Throughout the movie, there’s a large sum of unexplained character growth, a portion of which was explained when talking to Pfeffer. When asked about his least favorite character, he said “I don’t have a “least” favorite character …. I wished I could have had more screen time with Lucas’ older brother, Kenji. I wrote more scenes with Kenji, but they never made it in the can, unfortunately.” Maybe in the missing scenes, this development can be found, but when analyzing the finished product that I’ll See You Around is, there’s a massive hole in Kenji’s story.
While the film is centered around the protagonist, Lucas, the side characters have potential as actors and entertaining plot points, however, the sporadic use of them is solely implemented for lousy character development. Additionally, the arrangement of the plot is sloppy. Supposedly, the film is set in one day, but one could easily assume the story would have transpired over weeks, as there’s no true connection between the sequence of events.
The movie felt safe if anything. There were so many points where it could’ve been turned up, and while it is based on real-life, there was a certain element that it could’ve held, but just didn’t. When talking to Pfeffer, he said the only thing he regretted in the making of the film was “I would have raised the stakes in some dramatic situations a notch or two.”
Despite these disastrous factors, the movie offers an interesting lesson not often seen. The theme of ‘death arrives with rebirth’ is lacking when brought to life by Pfeffer, as he uses psychological knowledge of dreams to present an image of rebirth in an opening sequence, building the foundation for the remainder of the film. With such a strong open, the film dies down and doesn’t follow through. As Lucas undergoes rebirth mentally, he starts counseling and the death of multiple relationships immediately ensue. The visual component paired with the acting of Lucas Monroe brings a compelling addition to a movie that so badly needs it.
The film provides a cast whom the majority of which can accurately step into the shoes of their part, becoming their character. This applies specifically to Maria Wilson and Lucas Monroe. The two shared chemistry that sparked the film to life, however, some of that life was drained by Lazifa Gurbanova, a talented actress unsuited for the film. Her performance as a mother was extremely believable and compelling, the scenes with her child were her best, however when it came to scenes with other members of the cast, specifically Lucas Monroe, her performance faltered. Your mind will be left with doubt of her believability, is she actually the mother of this man’s child or are we just told she is?
I’ll See You Around is an overall underwhelming film, as it becomes messy and unrelatable, the plot is confusing and the main character’s experiences too specific.
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