“We Are Who We Are” offers a thrilling and unique coming-of-age story

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Courtesy of Warner Media

(From left to right) Jordan Kristine Seamón and Jack Dylan Grazer are among the cast of HBO’s series “We Are Who We Are.”

The first episode of HBO’s original series directed by Luca Guadagnino titled, “We Are Who We Are,” premiered on Sep. 14. Cast members include  Jack Dylan Grazer, Jordan Kristine Seamon, Kid Cudi and Chloë Sevigny. Once again, Guadagnino tells a story from an Italian landscape, much like his 2017 film “Call Me By Your Name.”

Narrating the lives of two American teenagers that live on an Italian military base, “We Are Who We Are” is a coming-of-age story that follows Fraser (Jack Dylan Grazer) and Caitlyn (Jordan Kristine Seamon) as they explore friendship, identity and love. 

In the first episode, Fraser arrives at the base with his two mothers, Sarah (Cholë Sevigny) and Maggie (Alice Braga). The family is welcomed by a woman who is also living with her family at the base. It is clear that Fraser is not pleased with the move away from their home in New York.

Compared to the other kids at his school Fraser is a bit of an outsider. He is quickly labeled as “the guy with two moms” and “eccentric.” He then finds himself on the outskirts of a cluster of his fellow classmates on a beach trip. Fortunately, it seems that he may not be the only teen that strays from the strict and orderly rules of the military base.

Transitioning from his biggest role in the “IT” franchise, Grazer continues to let his acting speak for itself as he plays the young and reckless army brat.. Grazer pulls the audience in with his emotional and powerful reflection of the pain around him and within him.

Jack Dylan Grazer delivers an emotional performance in the show's pilot episode, which aired Sep. 14.
Jack Dylan Grazer delivers an emotional performance in the show’s pilot episode, which aired Sep. 14.

 We see this when his character slaps his mom over a small annoyance, but rushes to her aid when she slices her finger at another time. This obvious inner turmoil that Fraser finds himself in may hint at past trauma or that he is flat out a psychopath; either way, Grazer does an amazing job at pulling in the audience and making them understand what his character is feeling.

Everyone in this film is figuring out who they are, even the adults. Director, Guadagnino focuses on the lives of these characters through both good and bad decisions. These raw moments are why “We Are Who We Are” is a truthful depiction of adolescence. 

The cast of the series is quite diverse as well as some of the characters.  Guadagnino also doesn’t seem to be distracted by characters’ labels rather, how they look against the backdrop of a strict military base. 

“We Are Who We Are” may interest you if you are drawn to the chaos of teen anguish. Last year the HBO drama “Euphoria” captured this sense of chaos while treating adolescence like a battlefield. “We Are Who We Are” offers a sunnier window into how dreary growing up can be. 

Given that,  “We Are Who We Are” provides a talented and reputable cast that delivers a strong message of self discovery.

Rating: 4/5

Sophia Pearson can be reached at [email protected] or @sophia__pearson on Twitter.