We Are Who We Are review

Streaming platforms such as Netflix, HBO, Hulu and Amazon Prime rule the media world these days. Show options are endless and appeal to all kinds of people. Lovers of drama, royalty, crime, mystery, romance, comedy and everything in between can find a series to watch. Countless hours of my time are spent sucked into different virtual stories and worlds. I’ve laughed, cried and screamed with the characters in my favorite shows. But there is one show that blew me away more than any other. 

      “We Are Who We Are,” a newer series featured on HBO, is definitely the next show you watch. It’s directed by Luca Guadagnino, known for directing the film Call Me By Your Name, and fans of it will certainly enjoy “We Are Who We Are.” The series is only eight episodes long, yet has more meaning to me than any 10 season show I’ve ever watched. The plot takes place in a U.S. army base located in Chioggia, Italy. It follows Fraser and Harper, two 14-year-olds trying to find their place in the world. Fraser, his mother and her wife move from New York to the base after his mother lands a position as general.  Fraser has no interest in befriending anyone except Harper, his neighbor. He and Harper create a tight bond that neither of them had ever experienced. 

    Like much of his work, Guadagnino’s cinematography instantly transports the audience into the story. Dreamy and raw scenes make up the series, showcasing Italy’s character and life. Guadagnino uses freeze frames to capture certain moments, catching you off guard. Even the smallest details are shown in an artistic matter, making every element of the set fit together in a warm and intriguing way. 

      The highlight of the show, however, is the acting. Jack Dylan Grazer and Jordan Seamon really capture the trials of becoming yourself and developing relationships. The young actors create characters so original and real that sometimes they feel more like friends.Grazer and Seamon’s characters have no lack of hardship, and “We Are Who We Are” does not hide any of it. 

Caitlin (left) and Fraser from “We Are Who We Are” (Photo courtesy of HBO)

      Sexual orientation and identity is a daunting subject for most teenangers. Not many shows can capture the reality of sexual identity, but I feel that “We Are Who We Are” does. The series also touches on family dynamics, origin, anxiety and tragedy. Don’t be mistaken or turned off: heaviness isn’t the only emotion in this show. Celebration, laughter, adventure and culture are also commonplace.

      Another element that stood out to me in “We Are Who We Are” was the fashion. Coming from New York, the character Fraser stands out and dares to challenge the fashion stereotypes.  Some of the brands featured are Carhartt, Palace, Supreme, Pleasures and Stussy. These brands have shifted to commercial fashion, so their prevalence reflects the fashion industry well and makes the show feel more relevant. Mishmash, oversized and bold printed pieces are seen often on Fraser. Fashion also correlates with gender identity in the series, in the way that there is no gender associated with the clothing the characters wear. Female characters are seen in traditional “masculine” clothes and vice versa with their male counterparts. 

    The breaking of gender roles and friendship between Fraser and Harper causes conflict in Harper’s family, especially in regards to her relationship with her Dad. Fraser also has his fair share of conflict with his Mom and their dynamic.

     “We Are Who We Are” exceeded my expectations for a new series to watch. The more vague nature of the show would appeal to viewers who appreciate artistic media. I recommend this series to anyone who appreciates a good coming-of-age story. It won’t disappoint!