We Are Who We Are: Episode 1 Review

Luca Guadagnino’s limited series We Are Who We Are has just been released on HBO, featuring Chloe Savigny, Jack Dylan Grazer, Alice Braga, Tom Mercier, Jordan Kristine Seamon, Francesca Scorsese, and Kid Cudi. Witten by Guadagnino himself along with Paolo Giordano and Francesca Ranieri, the eight-episode show tells the coming of age story of Fraser Wilson, a 14-year-old boy from New York who moves to an American military base in Italy with his two mothers and has to deal with the anguish of being a teenager.

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Like Call Me by Your Name, the first episode of We Are Who We Are already explores the singularity of Luca Guadagnino’s direction and storytelling by presenting us a quirky, awkward, and strange rebellious character who spends most of his time listening to music while wearing the most absurd combination of clothes without losing his cool and blasé composure. Most of that comes from the talented Jack Dylan Grazer, who brings life to his character in a very natural and simplistic way.

With that, Lua Guadagnino spends the first 58 minutes of his show exploring the reaction of Fraser Wilson towards the new place he is going to live – a little America that has been rebuilt in this camp for soldiers where everybody speaks English, teenagers go to school and they even have a movie theater. Fraser is an outcast in this place but he is also not shy about staring at strangers, taking pictures of people, asking for wine at bars, and stealing alcohol at the supermarket. He suddenly befriends a girl named Britney, who hangs out with another group of kids who like to go to the beach. One of them is Caitlin, a girl who seems to spark Fraser’s interest.

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Despite being only the first episode of the series, We Are Who We Are already presents itself as a unique show of character study through the contemplation of what’s happening around them. Even though Fraser Wilson doesn’t have a lot of active participation of what’s going on around him, we can clearly sense the difficulties of not only what he is going through as a teenager, but also by being forced to move to a place he doesn’t know anyone and seem to miss his male friend from New York. Not mentioning he also doesn’t seem to get along with one of his mothers.

Fluid sexuality and gender identity also seem to be big parts of the show. While Fraser seems interested in Caitlin and even masturbates to one of her pictures, he also sends love messages to his friend in New York and spends a considerable amount of time looking at naked soldiers taking a shower in a scene. When Fraser catches Caitlin getting a girl’s number in a bar while being dressed as a man, we can suspect that Guadagnino will tackle these issues, especially since it was a show created by him and it was produced by HBO.

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With that, We Are Who We Are already proves to be a show way more interesting, touching, and realistic than other teenage dramas such as Euphoria or whatever other garbage Netflix has been releasing. The story feels fresh, different, and with a lot of personality, which becomes great by the hands of Guadagnino, who seems to know how to create the perfect ambiance and direct silent actors. Of course, this was just the first episode, but the first part already proves to have great potential.