One-Way to Tomorrow review- after sunrise, sunset, and midnight

By M.N. Miller
Published: June 19, 2020 (Last updated: February 20, 2022)
One-Way to Tomorrow (Netflix) review- after sunrise, sunset, and midnight


Netflix’s One-Way to Tomorrow is a marginally enjoyable film if you are a fan of its storytelling style and has a movie star in the making in Dilan Çiçek Deniz.

This review of One-Way to Tomorrow (Netflix) is spoiler-free.

As soon as I saw Dilan Çiçek Deniz grace the screen of One-Way to Tomorrow (Yarina Tek Bilet), I thought this woman was a born movie star. The former Miss Turkey and Turkish representative for Miss Universe’s big, deeply expressive eyes are only outmatched by her presence on the big streaming screen. The Turkish actress takes her first leading role in a film that we have seen multiple times before, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not worth taking the trip to get to its destination.

Deniz plays Leyla, a 24-year-old woman who lost her ticket on the train that lost her bag. So she sneaks in a four-person railway car, trying to avoid security until Ali (Metin Akdülger) shows up to claim his seat. He was supposed to be with four friends, but they all had to cancel (never a good sign). Of course, as attractive people with natural chemistry have to do, they bicker, but no one ever gets up to leave and, effectively, end the movie or storyline entirely.

They both establish their persona fairly quickly — Ali can’t help but be condescending even when he wants to be helpful, even polite. Leyla is a passionate spitfire who is defensive then always goes on the attack, but that’s practically a cliche in films these days. As the train keeps chugging on to its destination, several revelations come to the forefront, and both come to a personal understanding of each other’s hopes, dreams, and the stumbles that have shaped their young lives.

The script by Faruk Ozerten is the type that goes on and on with dialogue and then takes 15 minutes while the two waits to get an instant cup of coffee. For lack of a better word, the dialogue starts as pompous; for instance, the male character is annoying, and their dialogue in the first half of the film is meandering. Ali jokes about fitting things into Leyla’s bag while shaking his head and laughing as if he is to say to himself, “Nailed it!” The film also has some standard clichés that are so commonplace now it’s unfair to hold that against them, but I’ll try anyway.

The headstrong women with an even-keel male are something we see so many times in romance films. These films also always tend to draw characters with elite level jobs or artists as if a sanitation worker and a nurse’s aide couldn’t possibly bear their souls to find a connection; maybe it is the mere fact that most of us have jobs to be at in the middle of a workweek and day.

You immediately get the impression that One-Way to Tomorrow’s apparent influence comes from Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy, where a young Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy take a long walk together that has them fall in love. In contrast, they get to know one another. Here, the setting is a train, and for the viewer, like most romantic dramas or comedies where there is friction at the beginning of the film.

The viewer has the same feeling of finding the two almost antagonistic without the Sam and Dianne charm (that’s a Cheers reference for you young people out there). Somewhere in the middle of the second act, we begin to warm up to these two characters as small revelations come to the forefront and pile up on top of one another. As you start to understand what has happened to them, you begin to feel for them and even forgive the way that they are.

One-Way to Tomorrow is full of Gen Z angst, a film about two broken and lonely souls that director Ozan Açiktan tries to give the Linklater treatment. His movies offer some quality moments of reflection that hit the right notes of melancholy. For instance, when Akdülger’s Ali looks back at the life choices he made to build a life for a relationship that didn’t work out or Deniz’s Leyla pours her soul out about a life that could have been after she invested so much.

Just because a film is reminiscent of a successful movie from decades before doesn’t mean it’s a wrong choice or a worthless endeavor. Take, for instance, the award-winning 1989 Robin Williams vehicle Dead Poet’s Society and the Julia Roberts’ Mona Lisa Smile that entered theatres 14 years later. There are enough positive aspects of One-Way to Tomorrow to give it a marginal recommendation, and even more so if you are a fan of the style of storytelling.  f anything, see it for Dilan Çiçek Deniz. She’s a star in the making.

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