When We Rise (2017)
User ReviewsReview this title
Perhaps most disrupting was the decision to change the cast members mid-program. Austin P. McKenzie, Emily Skeggs, and Jonathan Majors play Cleve, Roma, and Ken during the first few episodes. Then, Guy Pearce, Mary Louise-Parker, and Michael Kenneth Williams take over in the same roles as slightly older versions of the characters. The change is jarring; the younger actors bear little to no resemblance to their slightly more mature counterparts, and none attempts to match their characters mannerisms or personalities. The younger actors come off better, perhaps because they create the characters and suffer no comparisons to earlier incarnations as do Pearce, Parker, and Williams. However, the directors and cast should have studied "Moonlight," a film that seamlessly used three different actors to portray the same character at various stages of his life. Frankly, "We Shall Rise" had little reason to use different actors; the age disparity is not that great, and subtle make-up and acting could have convincingly bridged the age gap. Viewers now ponder why Cleve became more affected as he aged, while Ken became less good natured, not to mention the drastic physical changes.
Unfortunately, ABC's brave decision to devote a week's prime-time programming to a lesson in gay rights history was not well served, and the weak ratings will likely dampen enthusiasm for further efforts. The disjointed telecast impacts the drama, and some good performances from a large talented cast suffer. A generous sprinkling of cameos from Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O'Donnell, Dylan Walsh, David Hyde Pierce, Rob Reiner, and others testifies to the broad support and enthusiasm for the project. However, the intended audience for the project is uncertain. The LGBT community, their friends, and their families already know and have lived this history, while those opposed to equal rights will not tune in. With the choir stalls filled, are there any open minds to fill the pews?
If the content of this mini-series is not for you, no one is forcing you to watch it. There are plenty of sports related programs that bore me to tears. But would I ever imagine to sign on to a website to malign them? Would I complain that too many people spend precious time and money being obsessed with other people who are just playing a game? No because I believe it's their right. If sports are your bag well then fine you can keep getting a thrill from them while I change the channel.
This series is history. A history that doesn't get taught in schools. It's important. It's also a history that every one should know regardless of their sexuality, political affiliation or religion. These things happened around us. This is not a fantasy or made-up story.
There are many great performances and there are some scenes simply meant to tug on your heart- strings. But the fact is, it does make you feel something. Unlike so much of what's on t.v. that is made solely to make money and get a huge audience. ABC surely must have known that this was not going to be a ratings blockbuster. Kudos to them for giving it the green-light anyway.
A mini-series like this is even more important now under the political climate we are living in.
DO watch it; it's important for kids and younger adults today to know this story. But I have to recommend "And the Band Played On" as the better film on the same topic.It was made for HBO with better acting and more believable dialogue, and actually tells you much more about the early days of the AIDS crisis.
I'm very disappointed to see how "network" ABC made this thing; it feels low budget and heavily watered down.
This film is based on several real life people who were part the gay rights movement. Mostly set with the people that lived in the San Francisco from the beginning of the "Gay Rights Movement". This film is informative and we learn there is still modern day heroes.
If you are gay then you will find this at times "hard to watch" but that is what makes this worth watching. It tells the truth. The "Up's & Downs".
My favorite episode is the last one. There is a scene where near the very end that shows 2 people (An African American and an Asian American) hugging and embarrassing. No they are not lovers. They are two pioneers and survivors who share a genuine friendship and a deep love for each other that will bring a tear to your eye.
The acting is serviceable enough, but the writing keeps you at a distance. Once the author sets them in motion, there are no surprises, no tension, no conflicts; these people just keep going like little wind-up toys.
The atmosphere the series creates didn't seem accurate, either. Which is odd, considering that the same author's "Milk" hit it right on the money.
Oh, well, keep trying.
A splendid cast that includes Guy Pearce ,Rachel Griffiths, Mary Louise Parker and Jonathan Majors it's all true ,it happened in my lifetime and it shows how far we still have to go,especially in Australia with the battle for Marriage Equality for all.
Very smart and educational script from genius Dustin Lance Black.
This must be nominated for Best miniseries, screenplay, actors and actresses.
feel very emotional and moved by the entire experience.
I am a straight woman. So if you are reading about this series and are not a member of the LGBT community, please watch it. The acting is first class throughout, what you may know already as little 'soundbites' from the news and documentaries are given their personal and human context. I was cheering them on all through their struggles the injustices and the protests. I loved these characters and think you might too.
This is an important piece of television for many reasons. Firstly, these are ordinary people doing courageous extraordinary things. There is a lesson there for all of us who care about human rights and equality, regardless of our gender or sexual persuasion. Secondly, in days like these, it reminds all of us just how much of a battle the LGBT community has had to fight (and continues to fight - particularly in certain parts of the World) for respect and equality. A better World does not come from doing nothing. Whether you feel strongly about workers' rights, (which I do), the environment.....you will feel in awe of what these people both had to suffer - and what they have achieved.
Respect! Highly recommended.
The series focuses on three different characters and story lines. The first is Cleve Jones, who at the beginning is an 18-year-old who finally moves out of his Arizona home after telling his parents he's gay. His dad wants him to get "conversion therapy", which Jones refuses. He heads to San Francisco and struggles surviving, couch surfing and taking odd jobs in order to eat. Eventually, he finds his way and finds a job with Harvey Milk's team. After Milk's assassination, he gets involved in politics and the fight to stop AIDS. The second is Roma Guy, a lesbian who moves from Maine to San Francisco. She initially is involved in the women's liberation movement, but becomes a key cog in connecting the bridge between that and the gay rights movement, befriending men, who many women disdain and ignore in their fight for rights. The last is Ken Jones, a black gay man who fought in Vietnam. He is discharged and moves to San Francisco to help with race relations. He, too, moves into the gay rights movement, adding the race factor into it and showing it's not just a white issue, but an issue for all races. The characters grow up, age and become further involved with the gay rights movement as they get older.
It's inspiring and not always easy to watch, as we see them get hurt by violence, hate, AIDS and much more. You learn that San Francisco, the former home of the hippie movement, actually wasn't receptive to the gay movement at first and pushed strongly against it at the beginning. You learn that this fight to get close to equal rights as possible was over 40 years, and still there are issues they face today.
If you want an eye opening experience learning just how hard of a fight equality is, check out When We Rise.
"When We Rise" covers the gay activist movement from the '70s, and the Harvey Milk era, all the way through to the monumental SCOTUS ruling a couple years ago. Just about every actor and their brother must've rushed to be in this; I have no idea where to start, but there are 3 principle characters this series follows, and 2 actors of different ages play each of them, with the ones you'll recognize being Guy Pearce, Mary-Louise Parker and Michael K. Williams.
I thought the first two nights were decent enough, but it's the 3rd and 4th nights, this show really took off for me. For Pearce, one could argue this was a good bookend to 1994's "Adventures of Priscilla"? His character seemed to be the central figure throughout this whole journey. And as usual MK Williams proves what a great underrated talent he is; he practically steals the show with some really heart-wrenching moments.
There was not a fake moment in the series. I was worried that they were going to slant this to make the republicans evil and the Clintons and Obama rock Gods but they didn't. They did not slant at all and they did not make gays look perfect either but human and real.
At the end you feel like you just went through the decades that the real characters went through yourself.
Dustin you deserve the Emmy and any other award you are nominated for.
Honest and truthful.
This mini-series is important. These topics are important. History is important. Equal rights are important. I had tears in my eyes throughout the whole show. This mini-series is absolutely stunning and powerful. Thank goodness we finally found a series that bypasses, destroys, and cancels the classic gay clichés aimed at simple relationships. Here, the largest one true pairing is between humans and justice.
This show is so human, addressing several important issues that must be discussed in society, like the rights of women, gays, straights, blacks, whites, and civilians. What a spectacular show.
This is so important for everyone to understand the battles that were fought to achieve the rights and freedom LGBTQ+ individuals have today, especially when it seems the hands of time are going in reverse as of right. Those who came before us fought to obtain these rights; now it's our turn to fight to keep those rights.
It takes a dose of courage, awareness, hope, and despair to enter the fight as do the heroes of this story. It can start with little things, every day, under any circumstances, to lead up to these moments. But little things put together, multiplied by a crowd of people, can do a lot. The show tells us 40 years of the struggle of the LGBT movement in 4 episodes. As a result, the shortcuts made are sometimes felt, but the crossed destinies of this handful of activists, and their struggle for a more just world, more than make us forget some flaws.
Many emotions and anger await you if you let yourself be tempted. You can expect shivers of emotion all over your body. A lot said with very few words with amazing music. It's a great chance to learn more about movements that changed the world.
Now it's time for some truth talk that this series will also cover:
No one gets to tell another person who they can love. Love is free but freedom to love seems to come with a price. Encourage your friends and family, gay or straight to watch this mini-series. It should be watched with eyes full of respect. Respect for all those people who died fighting for even a shred of equal rights. Rights that everyone should have, without discrimination of sex, race, or color. We are all human beings. That's the lesson here.
It's appalling that this story still holds relevance today. And to say that still today, LGBTQ+ individuals still have to face this violence. The society regresses in a sense, as if all this had been for nothing. There are still those who banish gays, those who mock those of color, those who refuse immigration, those who run missiles against nations to get their own dominion, those who fight for religious ideals, those who are fanatical and those who are anarchists. I'm glad there's this mini-series, because we have to open our eyes and we have to embrace the fact that people are different.
The important perspective this series will also confront is: For all homophobes, imagine if the world was reversed, and that the "normality" was to be gay, would you? Will you stumble your identity to fit into the "norm"? Imagine if "homophobia" (what a dreadful word) was replaced by "heterophobia", what would you do? It's cruel, is not it? There is no need to be gay to support the LGBTQ+ cause, just to be human.
Outside of my rant, I find the series well-built with a solid plot and good actors. The actors' performances are wonderful. Embodying the lives of the real life people who paved the way to the freedoms we have through the suffering of so many who did not live to see the victories.
I'd hate for people to miss this. I'll say it until I lose my voice: This show is VERY important. This is our history. We must remember it. Because all the people who have died just because of who they love. Because people still want to love in their own way without doing it in fear. Let it enter your heart and you will not regret it. Approach this series without prejudice, with the simple interest of informing you about important historical facts but in the form of mini-series. It will charm you. It's a beautiful representation of human diversity. It's sad how underrated this is.
Thank you, ABC, for sharing this story with us. And thank you, Dustin Lance Blake. I adored it.
I give "When We Rise" a 9.5/10.