Luca Guadagnino's teen drama romanticizes teen life on a U.S. Army base in Italy.

By Darren Franich
September 01, 2020 at 12:38 PM EDT
Advertisement
We Are Who We Are
Credit: Yannis Drakoulidis/HBO

I don't know any teenagers, so I can’t confirm whether Fraser (Jack Dylan Grazer) is a typical 21st-century adolescent. He’s got bleached hair, black-and-yellow fingernails, a Last Tango in Paris poster, and saggy leopard-print capris. (Sagging: Cool again?) In We Are Who We Are (debuting Sept. 14 at 10 p.m. on HBO) Fraser’s the newest arrival to a base near Chioggia, Italy, where one of his moms (Chloë Sevigny) is taking command.

All the Army brats are pretty dreamy. Caitlin (Jordan Kristine Seamón) reads Walt Whitman and ponders gender. Her brother Danny (Spence Moore II) is seriously considering Islam. And everybody gets naked! Like, full-frontal meet-cute naked.

Writer-director Luca Guadagnino extends the dance-along romanticism of Call Me by Your Name through this series, and the sumptuous fourth episode is one long underage party. Think Euphoria with actual euphoria: poolside debauchery, Hawaiian-themed nuptials, a marvelously specific Uncharted 4 cameo. The year is 2016, which must mean something — though the arrival of MAGA hats is an empty cinematic provocation, grasping toward some deeper political resonance unearned in the four episodes released to critics.

Despite some flat characters, Guadagnino exuberantly spotlights his cast of up-and-comers, especially Corey Knight as a sweetheart soldier with star-spangled boxer briefs. Do teens really still nudely rock out to the Stones? Has there ever been a military base this radiant with hedonistic pansexual yearning? I don’t believe it, but these kids are alright. B+

Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free daily newsletter to get breaking TV news, exclusive first looks, recaps, reviews, interviews with your favorite stars, and more.

Related content:

Comments