From 1987 to 1994, Yonkers, New York was rigid with anger and frustration as court ordered public housing was to be put in the white neighborhoods, forcing white people to live with people of color. “Show Me a Hero” details the story of Nick Wasicsko, the youngest mayor in the country during 1987-1989 election cycle, as well as numerous residents who are affected by the housing. In one of Oscar Isaac’s finest roles ever, he makes lower level politics not only interesting, but utterly human.
The public housing debate depicted in this HBO miniseries was not a major event that has become known around the country, but remains important nonetheless for accurately depicting not only racism and elitist behavior, but the toll these struggles can take on people.
The miniseries mainly focuses on Wasicsko, whose career and life was severely damaged because of this. It also focuses on people who live on the poorer side of town and are positively affected by the public housing, and the people in the neighborhood’s where the housing was being built and were against it.
The miniseries does an excellent job of making the entire thing interesting, as well giving light to issues that remain relevant in today’s society. It accurately displays the racism that went on at the time and not unnecessarily demonizing people that were involved.
Over the six episodes, the ensemble does an amazing job of keeping you entertained and not being melodramatic. Winona Ryder and Carla Quevedo deliver exceptional performance’s as Wasickso’s friend and wife, respectively. While Catherine Keener gives the most amazing performance of the supporting cast.
She not only has the nicest growth of everyone there, (along with Natalie Paul and Dominique Fishback) but also has one of the most memorable moments of the entire miniseries when she has a phone conversation with Wasicsko.
The true star of the entire story however is Oscar Isaac. He delivers not only a performance worthy of many awards, but he shows first hand the ugly effects of these disputes during this time.
“Show Me a Hero” should become something that all biopics aspire to be and hopefully will go down as one of the greater political series to be on tv.