When They See Us: Season 1 Reviews

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June 4, 2019
Jerome, the only actor in the series to play both the teen and adult versions of his character, gives a remarkable performance.
June 3, 2019
In rendering their journeys, DuVernay pays careful attention to the terrifying power of language, especially the animalistic rhetoric with which prosecutors and journalists referred to the teens.
June 3, 2019
The actors are all top-notch - but expect special recognition come Emmy time for Jerome, who dominates the fourth hour, Farmiga and Ellis.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
June 1, 2019
When They See Us achieves quite a lot, asking us all to consider exactly who in America really gets the presumption of innocence when accused of a crime.
May 31, 2019
[Ava] DuVernay's direction and writing is clear-eyed and focused, and puts a heavy emphasis on what the boys and their families lost over their decades-long ordeal.
May 31, 2019
DuVernay makes an effective artistic choice by filming much of this through a blue filter, so that the boys' world is enveloped by a Kafkaesque indigo gloom from which they - and the viewer - can find no escape.
June 24, 2019
As television storytelling, it's little short of brilliant. As history, the verdict is less certain.
June 21, 2019
When They See Us gives voice back to those who aren't always allow to speak.
June 21, 2019
What When They See Us shows best is the cruel myopia of a legal system which would look at five boys and only want to know one thing about them.
June 20, 2019
When They See Us reaffirmed my faith that despite the endless stream of content that Netflix pushes out every week, and despite its plans of world domination, it's also, occasionally, doing the Lord's work.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
June 19, 2019
It's utterly soul-searing, even more so than Ken Burns' acclaimed 2012 documentary about the shameful, revealing case.
June 17, 2019
Hopefully this remains a lasting thrust of Duvernay's strongest work to date. Is this not the value of art that is powerful but also deeply painful?
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
June 13, 2019
When They See Us is terrifying to watch. There's an inevitability that seeps into every frame, not because we know the ending, but because the suffering feels so unavoidable.
June 12, 2019
When They See Us is beautifully shattering. By telling the Exonerated Five's story with such honesty and compassion, DuVernay has given us a truth that hurts (as it should) but could also shift the culture. That makes it the pinnacle of art.
Full Review | Original Score: A
June 12, 2019
A shocking and emotional piece that can easily position itself among the best of 2019. [Full Review in Spanish]
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
June 11, 2019
Solid dramatic account of 1990s wrongful conviction trial.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
June 10, 2019
In DuVernay's masterful hands, the rage, the devastation that this story invokes don't leave the audience empty.
June 10, 2019
When They See Us shows in harrowing detail each teen confined in a room for hours with an officer yelling at them to commit to such specific information, often implicating each other, that they can't even keep it all straight.
June 7, 2019
A filmmaker of laudable ambitions but occasionally tendentious means, which can leave her straddling the line between solid and stodgy, DuVernay has used her extra time with a flair she has too seldom exercised before...
June 6, 2019
One of the best original productions that Netflix has released in a long time. Excellent and necessary, and I would even say required [Full review in Spanish]
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
May 31, 2019
When They See Us is DuVernay at her best: urgent, unflinching, and political... it's a gutting viewing experience, one that probably benefits from binge-viewing, but makes doing so nearly impossible.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
May 31, 2019
When They See Us is superbly made and startling in its invective. That invective is aimed with blistering intensity, not just at a justice system that allowed a miscarriage of justice, but at all of American society.
May 31, 2019
A human story teased from history, it is personal and political, inextricably and in equal measure.
May 31, 2019
"When They See Us" is DuVernay's strongest work to date. But what makes it so devastating is its relentless portrayal of a criminal justice system that locks up, scapegoats and brutalizes black and brown American children with ease and enthusiasm.
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