When They See Us: The Realities of a Heartbreaking and Infuriating True Story

In Ava DuVernay’s recent Netflix Limited Series, she crafts a creative force to be consumed and analyzed for years to come.

CREDIT: Atsushi Nishijima/Netflix

In Ava DuVernay’s recent work with Netflix she analyzes the story of The Exonerated 5 or as famously known as The Central Park 5. Ava’s masterful direction and incredible analysis of a heartbreaking and infuriating case leaves your jaw on the floor from the opening shot to the final credits.

The Exonerated 5 are played by Asante Black (teen)/Justin Cunningham (adult), Caleel Harris (teen)/Jovan Adepo (adult), Ethan Herisse (teen)/Chris Chalk (adult), Marquis Rodriguez (teen)/Freddy Miyares (adult), and Jharel Jermoe. The rest of the cast includes incredible performers such as Marsha Stephanie Blake, Kylie Burnbury, John Leguizamo, Niexy Nash, Suzzane Douglas, and Michael Kenneth Williams. Ava also reunites with the incredible Bradford Young who shot the whole show. The show also includes an incredible score by Kris Bowers and impeccable production design by Henry Dunn and Akin McKenzie.

When They See Us never fails to impress you, it is an incredibly crafted series that looks at the case of the “Central Park 5” who were wrongfully convicted for crimes that these boys did not commit. From the beginning until the end we are told the truth behind the case and how these five boys were robbed of a life because of a system that does not work for boys like them. Ava DuVernay’s incredible writing and direction creates an emotional packed mini series that brought me to tears multiple times. This art by Ava made me smile (every time Ray and his girlfriend embraced each other), cry (happened pretty much every episode), and want to scream at these prosecutors and politicians trying their hardest to make these boys not have a life after they are released.

You can tell with every frame on the screen and dialogue spoken that Ava poured every ounce of research on the case into this series. It is accompanied by some of the most impressive cinematography yet from Bradford Young. Hopefully this leads Ava to walk out of the Emmy’s with the awards that she so deserves. I have a feeling that just like the case we will be talking about this superlative piece of art by one of the best creatives working in the industry right now for ages to come.