Italian director Luca Guadagnino became a household name–at least in cinephile circles–in 2017, when he was nominated for an Oscar as a producer for his coming-of-age romantic drama Call Me by Your Name. The film features a same-sex relationship between a 17-year-old and his father’s 24-year-old grad student.
Guadagnino makes his first foray into television with We Are Who We Are, an HBO dramatic miniseries set on a seaside American military base in Chioggia, Italy. This time, the love interest lies between Fraser Wilson (Jack Dylan Grazer) and Caitlin Poythress (Jordan Kristine Seamón), the children of Army personnel at the base. Fraser has two mothers, military physician Maggie Teixeira (Brazilian actress Alice Braga) and Colonel Sarah Wilson (Chloë Sevigny), who has uprooted her family to Europe for her new job. Afro-Latino actor and rapper “Kid Cudi” Mescudi (Bill & Ted Face the Music) stars as Richard Poythress, a military man, President Donald Trump supporter (he wears a MAGA hat) and the conservative father of Caitlin.
“It was something that I really had to dig deep for,” Mescudi recently told The New York Times. “This character is totally different than who I am and the things that I stand for.”
The eight-episode series, which premiered Monday night (September 14) on HBO, has received mostly positive reviews from critics. It currently holds an 86% at RottenTomatoes.com with 21 reviews. NPR called the show “a startlingly truthful depiction of adolescence, in all its confusing, and often thrilling, fluidity.” The Times said the miniseries is “a finely detailed, living fresco of libido and intoxication.”
New episodes of We Are Who We Are air on Mondays at 10 p.m. EST on HBO. Episode 1 is available now on HBO Max.