Guagagino, of Call Me By Your Name acclaim, collaborated with HBO to create this coming-of-age drama, in his first attempt at episodic storytelling. The show follows Fraser, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Harper, Jordan Kristine Seamón, as they navigate their turbulent teenage years on a U.S. military base in Chioggia, Italy. Both teens turn in really impressive performances, evoking a difficult mix of awkwardness and self-assuredness that makes the characters feel really real. In fact, most of the actors playing teens are excellent, fleshing out the world with no hint of hollowness. The show is also pretty funny, particularly in its use of music (the first episode has an incredible scene that had me giggling for about five minutes). It wasn’t something that I expected going in, but it definitely made the watch much more enjoyable. Of course, it’s funny in the way that you cringe through certain scenes, but it’s also funny in its use of music and its cinematography. The costuming also seeks to satisfy, and the end result is pretty beautiful to look at. Over the series, the director dives into explorations of gender identity and expression, friendship and family, certainly serving up a full meal. We Are Who We Are is most concerned with connection, and Guadagino takes love out of the fantastical world, making it a challenging triumph.
Available on TVNZOnDemand here