Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us inspires change

WHEN THEY SEE US - Credit: Atsushi Nishijima/Netflix
WHEN THEY SEE US - Credit: Atsushi Nishijima/Netflix /

Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us is now on Netflix and inspiring change. Here’s our review of the hit Netflix original series.

Ava DuVernay’s powerful series When They See Us exposes the criminal justice system in the infamous “Central Park Five” case on Netflix, inspiring rage, heartbreak and change.

If you were alive in the late 80’s/early 90’s you knew about this case. It was everywhere and the whole nation was watching, but perhaps not paying attention to what was really going on. DuVernay developed, wrote and directed the narrative series that is making waves on the streaming giant.

I must warn you, watching this series is absolutely heartbreaking. Much of that is because DuVernay wrote a powerful script and knows how to direct intense stories like this. From Selma to this series, she isn’t afraid of telling powerful stories and shining a light on the true injustices in American history.

The performances by all of the actors are so real and raw that I spent much of my time wiping tears away as I watched. The story and what happened to these young men is put on-screen in such a way that it physically hurts to view. That is the power of this limited series; it makes you feel so deeply.

More. When They See Us and the best Netflix shows of 2019. light

The sets and costumes were period accurate and it felt as if we time traveled to the late 80s and 90s. The production team took a lot of care to get the visuals correct and it helps to transport us back to this case. I think that when filmmakers create a piece that is set in the known past, they should try to recreate it as accurately as possible in order to stay true to the story.

For those who aren’t aware, this is based on a real case that took over the nation and even back then it was a source of controversy and exposed underlying racism in this country.  Four young black boys and one Latino boy were convicted of rape in separate trials in 1990.

In 2002 when these convictions were vacated, a term that means legally it’s as if they were never brought to trial, but in reality, the young men spend years in jail, and it wasn’t until 2014 when their names were finally cleared and paid restitution.

It appears DuVernay chose the right time for this project. In fact, since the series premiered last week, a big change has already happened.  Linda Fairstein, the prosecutor who headed the infamous case and who is played by Felicity Huffman (who is dealing with her own legal issues), inspired the trending hashtag #CancelLindaFairstein.

This renewed public outrage has seen her step down from jobs and face criticism. DuVernay says she reached out before she wrote the script, but Fairstein didn’t speak with her. Now Fairstein is in the midst of a PR nightmare and has deleted her public social media accounts and stepped down from her position on the board at Vasser.

All of this goes to show how a film or series can bring about change. Now I need to go cuddle up with my dog and eat some ice cream while I try to get over the sadness this show brought me. Bravo to DuVernay and all the actors and crew on this project. This will stay with me for a long time.

Have you watched When They See Us? What did you think? Let us know in the comments section below!

Next. 50 best TV shows on Netflix right now. dark