We Are Who We Are (2020)

TVSeries


We Are Who We Are (TV Series 2020–2020)

Two American teenagers come of age while living on an American military base in Italy.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
Italy
USA
IMDb   7.2 /10
Metacritic   77 %
TheMovieDb    8.1 /10
RottenTomatoes  89 %
FilmAffinity   7.0 /10
Creators
Creator Sean Conway
Creator Paolo Giordano
Creator Luca Guadagnino
Creator Francesca Manieri
Information
Release Date2020-09-14
Runtime7h 42min
GenreDrama
Content RatingTV-MA (TV-MA)
Awards1 nomination.
CompanyHome Box Office (HBO), Sky Italia, Wildside
CountryItaly, USA
LanguageEnglish, Italian
Fraser Wilson 8 episodes, 2020
Caitlin Poythress 8 episodes, 2020
Richard Poythress 8 episodes, 2020
Britney Orton 8 episodes, 2020
Danny Poythress 7 episodes, 2020
Faith Alabi
Faith Alabi
Jenny Poythress 7 episodes, 2020
Sarah Wilson 6 episodes, 2020
Benjamin L. Taylor II
Benjamin L. Taylor II
Sam Pratchett 6 episodes, 2020
Jonathan Kritchevsky 6 episodes, 2020
Maggie Teixeira 5 episodes, 2020
Corey Knight
Corey Knight
Craig Pratchett 5 episodes, 2020
Beatrice Barichella
Beatrice Barichella
Valentina 5 episodes, 2020
Sebastiano Pigazzi
Sebastiano Pigazzi
Enrico 4 episodes, 2020
Jared McNeill
Jared McNeill
Theatre Teacher 4 episodes, 2020
Isaac Esangbedo Godwin
Isaac Esangbedo Godwin
Soldier 4 episodes, 2020
Vittoria Bottin
Vittoria Bottin
Sole 3 episodes, 2020
Nicole Celpan
Nicole Celpan
Giulia 3 episodes, 2020
Gene Tramm
Gene Tramm
School Principal 3 episodes, 2020
Maria Teresa Cerantola
Maria Teresa Cerantola
Proprietor of the Bar 3 episodes, 2020
John Harbeson
John Harbeson
Gym Teacher 3 episodes, 2020
Daisy Pieropan
Daisy Pieropan
Giulia's Friend 3 episodes, 2020
Joshua Scapin Tagua
Joshua Scapin Tagua
Boy 3 episodes, 2020
Rebecca Legnaro
Rebecca Legnaro
Giulia's Friend 3 episodes, 2020
Brixhilda Shqalsi
Brixhilda Shqalsi
Marta 2 episodes, 2020
Hans Bush
Hans Bush
Colonel McAunty 2 episodes, 2020
Jim Sweatman
Jim Sweatman
Colonel Martin 2 episodes, 2020
Nichola Shanta Saunders
Nichola Shanta Saunders
IOC Officer 2 episodes, 2020
Heather Rockel
Heather Rockel
American Woman 2 episodes, 2020
Marcus Evens Aurelien
Marcus Evens Aurelien
Boy 2 episodes, 2020
Tomeka Campbell Turley
Tomeka Campbell Turley
Mel 2 episodes, 2020
Catherine Rita Balsamo
Catherine Rita Balsamo
Girl 2 episodes, 2020
Joseph Ikhanoba Salihu
Joseph Ikhanoba Salihu
Sam's Father 2 episodes, 2020

We Are Who We Are

We Are Who We Are is a coming-of-age drama television series co-created and directed by Luca Guadagnino for HBO and Sky Atlantic. A coming-of-age story set on a US army base in Italy, the series follows two American 14-year-olds, Fraser Wilson and Caitlin "Harper" Poythress. The cast includes Chloë Sevigny, Jack Dylan Grazer, Alice Braga, Jordan Kristine Seamón, Spence Moore II, and Scott Mescudi.

The series premiered on September 14, 2020, on HBO in the United States and on October 9, 2020, on Sky Atlantic in Italy.


Premise

We Are Who We Are focuses on two American kids who live on a fictional U.S. military base in Chioggia, Italy in 2016. The series explores friendship, first love, identity, and immerses the audience in all the messy exhilaration and anguish of being a teenager – a story which could happen anywhere in the world, but in this case, happens in this little slice of America in Italy.


Cast and characters

Main

  • Chloë Sevigny as Sarah Wilson, a colonel in the United States Army and Fraser's mother
  • Jack Dylan Grazer as Fraser Wilson, a 14-year-old who moves from New York to a military base in Veneto with his mothers
  • Alice Braga as Maggie Teixeira, a major in the U.S. Army, Fraser's mother and Sarah's wife
  • Jordan Kristine Seamón as Caitlin Poythress / Harper, a seemingly bold and confident girl who is struggling with her gender identity
  • Spence Moore II as Danny Poythress, Caitlin's older brother
  • Scott Mescudi as Richard Poythress, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, Caitlin's and Danny's father
  • Faith Alabi as Jenny Poythress, Caitlin's and Danny's mother
  • Francesca Scorsese as Britney Orton, an outspoken, witty, sexually uninhibited girl
  • Ben Taylor as Sam Pratchett, Caitlin's possessive boyfriend, and Craig's younger brother
  • Corey Knight as Craig Pratchett, a soldier in his twenties, cheerful and good-natured, who is also Sam’s older brother
  • Tom Mercier as Jonathan Kritchevsky, a major who works closely with Sarah

Featured

  • Blood Orange as himself

Recurring

  • Beatrice Barichella as Valentina, Craig's nineteen-year-old girlfriend
  • Sebastiano Pigazzi as Enrico, a playful eighteen-year-old boy from Veneto, who has a weak spot for Britney
  • Vittoria Bottin as Sole, a friend of the group
  • Nicole Celpan as Giulia, a girl interested in Harper
  • Maria Teresa Cerantola as Teresa, a bar proprietor who secretly buys fuel from Richard

Guests

  • Hans Bush as Colonel McAunty, the exiting base commander who is replaced by Sarah
  • Jim Sweatman as Colonel Martin
  • Tomeka Campbell Turley as Mel
  • Gaia Schiralli as Monica
  • Lisa Lazzaro as Loredana
  • Brixhilda Shqalsi as Marta, Jonathan's girlfriend
  • Giulia Manzini as Anna
  • Jacopo Brigotti as Angelo
  • Arturo Gabbriellini as Luca, Fraser’s love interest whom he meets while on their way to the Blood Orange concert in Bologna
  • Emma Segat as Futura, a bartender that Harper meets at the Blood Orange concert

Cameo appearances

  • Timothée Chalamet
  • Armie Hammer

Episodes

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
(millions)
1"Right here, right now #1"Luca GuadagninoPaolo Giordano & Francesca Manieri & Luca GuadagninoSeptember 14, 20200.117
Fraser Wilson and his mothers, Colonel Sarah Wilson and Major Maggie Teixeira, arrive at Venice Airport in Italy from New York City, where they're greeted and picked up by their Nigerian neighbor, Jenny Poythress. They arrive at their new house, located on the U.S. Army Base "Caserma Maurizio Pialati" near Chioggia, and the family begins to settle in. Fraser explores around the army base and the army base high school, and later haphazardly finds himself dragged along to the beach with a group of his new classmates, led by a girl named Britney. Fraser finds himself fascinated with a girl named Caitlin, who is Jenny's daughter. Fraser spots Caitlin at a restaurant; unexpectedly, she is dressed like a boy and calls herself Harper. Later at the beach, Fraser asks what he should call her.
2"Right here, right now #2"Luca GuadagninoPaolo Giordano & Francesca Manieri & Luca GuadagninoSeptember 21, 20200.090
The events of the first episode are retold from the perspective of Caitlin, whose family has been at the Italian base for many years. She has a short-tempered older brother, Danny, who is still in school and is currently learning Arabic. Her father Richard, whom she looks up to, is a Trump supporter. Caitlin seems generally uninterested in most things. At the beach, she gets her first period. Her relationship with her boyfriend Sam is strained when she rejects his sexual advances. At a restaurant, she passes for a boy, and Fraser witnesses it. She tells him to stay away from her, but Jenny later tells her that Fraser sent a package. Caitlin, initially reluctant to open Fraser's package, curiously opens it and finds a set of clothing. That night, Caitlin sneaks out of her room to goof off with her brother and their friends. The next morning, Caitlin tries on the gifted clothing, and Fraser sees her from his window.
3"Right here, right now #3"Luca GuadagninoPaolo Giordano & Francesca Manieri & Luca GuadagninoSeptember 28, 20200.062
Fraser and Caitlin's relationship has strengthened since the last episode. On Richard's boat, Caitlin makes a mess of some cookies after Fraser informs her that they may contain shellfish. Later, a heartbroken Sam breaks up with Caitlin, who is unfazed. Britney sees Sam's misery and comforts him. It's made clear that ever since she became friends with Fraser, Caitlin's other relationships have become strained. At Fraser's house, the two discuss transgender people and Fraser attempts to teach Caitlin how to shave, but they're interrupted by Sarah. Fraser is angry that the dish he prepared for dinner didn't turn out well, and Caitlin soon witnesses his dysfunctional relationship with Sarah. When Caitlin gets back home, Richard angrily tells her to clean up the cookies she left in the boat. The next day, residents of the base take part in a large parade that happens once a year. Caitlin chooses to walk with Fraser, which angers Danny and causes him to violently lash out at Fraser. Meanwhile, Richard questions his own self-worth after losing the annual game of tug-of-war for the first time. Jenny and Maggie walk together and eat a pie Jenny baked.
4"Right here, right now #4"Luca GuadagninoPaolo Giordano & Francesca Manieri & Luca GuadagninoOctober 5, 20200.060
It's the last day before Craig and other soldiers are to be deployed, and Fraser, Caitlin, and her friends play a paintball game in the woods. Sam and Danny ambush Fraser and shoot him with dozens of paintballs, but Britney finds the pair and stops them. Meanwhile, Craig spots Caitlin but lets her go with the flag. On the way back, Valentina is visibly upset that Craig will be away for two years, so he asks her to marry him that day, and he accepts. After the group helps pick out clothing, the couple is wed in a small ceremony. The group celebrates by breaking into a villa whose affluent Russian owners are away. The group swims in the villa's pool and parties inside, helping themselves to the Russians' stock of food and alcohol. The group drinks heavily, notably Danny, who describes himself as an abstainer from alcohol but drunkenly has sex with one of Valentina's friends on the couch. Caitlin asks Craig why he didn't shoot her during the paintball game, but he denies having had an open shot. Eventually, Craig and Valentina consummate their marriage in one of the villa's bedrooms while an inebriated Sam confronts Fraser in the bathroom. Fraser shrugs it off, but he's cornered and kissed by Sole outside the bathroom. He tells Caitlin, and she seems unfazed but tells him not to do it again. The next morning, Craig sneaks out back to the base to be deployed.
5"Right here, right now #5"Luca GuadagninoPaolo Giordano & Francesca Manieri & Luca GuadagninoOctober 12, 20200.049
Caitlin gets up early to go to the digital shooting range, assisted by Sarah, who commends her accuracy. Maggie and Jenny are revealed to be sleeping together. When Fraser arrives at school, he spots a note posted on the board in the hallway referring to "Harper," signed by Giulia, the girl who Caitlin spoke to at the restaurant in Episode 1. He gives it to Caitlin, who wants to meet Giulia again. With Fraser's help, Caitlin applies trimmed hair onto her face while Fraser orders Blood Orange concert tickets, then the pair shave Caitlin's head. They ride to the meeting spot, where Fraser leaves Caitlin to hang out with Giulia and her friends. Fraser wanders off and stumbles upon the movie theater, buying a ticket for Ouija: Origin of Evil. At the theater, he sees Jonathan, a major in Sarah's command whom he is infatuated with. Jonathan invites him to sit, and the two walk home after the movie, striking up a friendship. Meanwhile, Richard notices Caitlin's shaven hair in the bathroom. Furious, he later confronts Caitlin, who breaks down in her father's arms.
6"Right here, right now #6"Luca GuadagninoPaolo Giordano & Francesca Manieri & Luca GuadagninoOctober 19, 20200.050
In light of the shaving incident, Richard grounds Caitlin and forces her to spend the weekend on a hunting trip. Fraser goes to the post office and picks up a book, then leaves it on Jonathan's desk with a note. Caitlin spends the beginning of the hunting trip sneaking away to find a cellular signal to text Fraser, but she eventually returns to her father. While eating dinner by the campfire, Richard questions Caitlin about what she sees in Fraser, and she tells him that Fraser understands her. The next morning, Fraser wakes to a voicemail from Jonathan inviting him out, and Fraser is enthused. Sarah sees it as an exciting opportunity for Fraser to have a male role model in his life. Jonathan drives Fraser out to the countryside and they walk together. Later at a restaurant, Fraser is shocked to see that Jonathan invited his friend Marta, but eventually adjusts, and the three sing karaoke together. The next day, Caitlin returns from the trip, and Sarah spots her in the food court. She calls her over and questions her about her gender identity, offering to take her to an endocrinologist. Caitlin is happy and later watches videos of testosterone injections online. That night, Donald Trump is elected President of the United States. Sarah, while watching the news, gets a call from an unknown number. After she picks up, a look of sadness washes over her. She asks "Where?" and "How many?" and quickly leaves the house.
7"Right here, right now #7"Luca GuadagninoPaolo Giordano & Francesca Manieri & Luca GuadagninoOctober 26, 20200.092
Sarah arrives at the army headquarters. It is revealed that there was an IED explosion in Afghanistan where the troops were recently deployed. Three men were killed in the blast, including Craig. At school, Caitlin tells Fraser that Sam has been trying to call her all morning. Soldiers enter the classroom and quietly inform the teacher of the explosion. The students are called down to the gymnasium, where the principal announces the incident. Britney arrives in tears, and Caitlin checks her texts, breaking down in tears. While preparing for the memorial, Jenny and Maggie argue over the recent events, and Maggie ends their affair. At the memorial, an inebriated Richard lashes out at Sarah, blaming her for the deaths of Craig, Drew, and Alvaro. Danny becomes angry, reckless, and destructive in response to Craig's death. The group returns to the villa from Craig and Valentina's post-wedding celebration, gets high, and wreaks havoc. Caitlin comforts Danny after he hallucinates Craig during a bad trip. Fraser, who was exiled by the group due to his mother's involvement in the incident, walks to Jonathan's apartment; Marta is there and she invites him in, they offer him alcohol and weed, they dance but Fraser leaves as things turn sexual. He sobs in the rain on his way out gets drunk at home and passes out on the floor. Fraser gets a call from Caitlin, and he, along with Sarah and Maggie, picks up her and Danny from the villa and takes them home. That night, Sarah confronts Maggie about her affair with Jenny, and Maggie says that Richard and his family pose a risk, convincing Sarah to assign them to another base. Fraser and Caitlin fall asleep over a video call, and Danny prays in the garage.
8"Right here, right now #8 and last"Luca GuadagninoPaolo Giordano & Francesca Manieri & Luca GuadagninoNovember 2, 20200.058
Caitlin and her family pack to move to Chicago as Richard has been reassigned. Britney visits Caitlin and admits she has always been in love with her and the two share a kiss. Fraser texts Caitlin that the Blood Orange concert is imminent and the two run away to Bologna to see the show. They eventually hitch a ride with other fans and Fraser meets a boy named Luca who also loves fashion and says he has a girlfriend. Caitlin gets separated from the boys as they enter the venue and meets Futura, a female bartender who gives her a backstage pass; Caitlin meets Blood Orange and texts a picture to Fraser. Caitlin kisses Futura who asks her if she is transgender. As Blood Orange does an encore, Caitlin texts Fraser she is leaving to catch the train home. Fraser asks her to wait but she leaves. Luca takes Fraser on a tour of the arches in Bologna and they share a kiss. Fraser leaves and Luca literally disappears. Fraser goes to the train station and pulls Caitlin from the train home. He takes her to the arches and they share a long, romantic kiss as it becomes morning.

Production

Development

In February 2019, it was announced that Luca Guadagnino was in talks with HBO to work on a new one-hour, eight-episode show tentatively titled We Are Who We Are. Guadagnino would direct the series and write the script with Paolo Giordano and Francesca Manieri. Lorenzo Mieli and Riccardo Neri were named as prospective executive producers.

The US Department of Defense was initially supportive, and the show was to be filmed at the US army complex at Vicenza, which would also provide the extras. Guadagnino later commented that they must not have read the script; the Department of Defense later withdrew all offers of support and, according to Guadagnino, would have preferred the show not to happen. Ultimately HBO had a set built nearby to represent the base.

The first reports described the main characters, Fraser Wilson and Caitlin Harper, as "a detached teenager who hails from New York City" and "a character is hard to describe—beautiful, sometimes disapproving, poetic," respectively.

Casting

On July 17, 2019, the cast was revealed by HBO and it includes Chloë Sevigny, Scott Mescudi, Alice Braga, Jack Dylan Grazer, Spence Moore II, and newcomers Jordan Kristine Seamón, Faith Alabi, Corey Knight, Tom Mercier, Francesca Scorsese, Ben Taylor and Sebastiano Pigazzi.

Filming

Principal photography on the series was expected to begin in Italy in late May 2019, with production set to run through October, but production began in late July.


Release

The series premiered in its entirety at the San Sebastián International Film Festival on September 20, 2020.

The series premiered on television on September 14, 2020, on HBO in the United States and on October 9, 2020, on Sky Atlantic in Italy. The finale aired in Italy on October 30, 2020, ahead of its broadcast on HBO. In the United Kingdom, the limited series was released in its entirety on November 22, 2020, by BBC Three via iPlayer.


Reception

Critical response

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 89% based on 37 reviews, with an average rating of 7.85/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "We Are Who We Are doesn't move mountains, but by focusing on the little details and allowing its central teens to just be, Luca Guadagnino creates small-screen poetry." Metacritic gave the series a weighted average score of 77 out of 100 based on 22 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".

Darren Franich of Entertainment Weekly gave the series a B+ and said, "Despite some flat characters, Guadagnino exuberantly spotlights his cast of up-and-comers, especially Corey Knight." Writing for Rolling Stone, Alan Sepinwall gave a rating of 4/5 and wrote "Few transplants from the big screen to the small have as keen an eye, or ear, as Guadagnino, so the voyeuristic nature of the storytelling feels inviting rather than indulgent. (Mostly)." Caroline Framke of Variety described the series as "so visceral as to become unsettling—but what else is being a teenager like, if not immersive, visceral and unsettling?". Reviewing the first three episodes, Matt Roush from TV Guide stated that the series wants to be "shocking" like Euphoria, "but it soon grows monotonous."

U.S. Ratings

Viewership and ratings per episode of We Are Who We Are
No.TitleAir dateRating
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
1"Right here, right now #1"September 14, 20200.020.117
2"Right here, right now #2"September 21, 20200.010.090
3"Right here, right now #3"September 28, 20200.010.062
4"Right here, right now #4"October 5, 20200.010.060
5"Right here, right now #5"October 12, 20200.010.049
6"Right here, right now #6"October 19, 20200.010.050
7"Right here, right now #7"October 26, 20200.030.092
8"Right here, right now #8 and last"November 2, 20200.010.058