Director Gus Van Sant and writer Dustin Lance Black, the team behind the Oscar-winning film Milk, have reunited to create the massive new mini-series When We Rise for ABC. Covering the early years of the battle for LGBT rights, the series follows a few key activists as they converge on San Francisco in the 1970s finding that the city of the Summer of Love is long gone.
When We Rise does sprawl, but it’s in a way that is often unwieldy and uneven as we move through historical events and personal stories. It’s difficult to care too much about the trio of central characters when the acting in some scenes is awkward to the point of unwatchable. It reads too often as an after-school special (and will likely be viewed in classrooms of the future) with the requisite hand-holding through a complex topic.
Really, really short review: Hoping for the best, but early indicators are not promising.