When They See Us: Season 1 Reviews

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December 3, 2019
The series offers a raw, absorbing and ultimately revealing look at this compelling case and the flawed criminal justice system.
December 3, 2019
[Ava] DuVernay skips around, sacrificing some of the legal particulars and chronologies in order to maintain the intimacy and focus of her storytelling.
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
Top Critic
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 consistently strikes the right chord, portraying the relentlessness of a broken justice system. The result is an informative, gripping watch coming at just the right time.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
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.
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.
May 31, 2019
It is a dense, fast-moving series that examines not just the effects of systemic racism but the effects of all sorts of disenfranchisement (though you could argue they all have that same root cause) on people with the boys' background.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
May 31, 2019
Through the careful ministrations of [ Bradford] Young, [Ava] DuVernay and a superlative case, this is a series that makes previously erased people seen and known. Art has few greater purposes than that.
May 30, 2019
Seeing the series in the cold shadow of Trump's Presidency, we find ourselves doubly fatigued, watching a nightmare still going on, at a larger scale, while the need for urgent action overwhelms the desire for subtlety.
May 30, 2019
[It] feels more personal due to DuVernay's intimate approach... and thoughtful performances across the board, especially from the actors who portray the wrongly accused as boys and men.
May 30, 2019
Taken as a whole, there's a lot to recommend When They See Us. It does as much as it can to recast the gaze on Black and brown people, eliciting empathy and the desire for justice.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
May 30, 2019
"When They See Us" makes a compelling case to be seen, and heard.
May 30, 2019
The emotional weight of Duvernay's respect for the physical and emotional facts settled slowly in your stomach.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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