Netflix has once again delivered a powerful emotional punch with the release of the 2022 drama “Can You See Us?” The film has left viewers reaching for their tissues and labeling it as the ‘saddest film’ ever to grace the streaming platform.
Directed by Zambian filmmaker Kenny Mumba, “Can You See Us?” has garnered a devoted following, with users hailing it as a ‘must-watch.’ It’s essential to note that this film should not be confused with the Netflix miniseries “When They See Us.”
Written by Andrew and Lawrence Thompson, the movie is rated 15 and tells a heart-wrenching story that resonates deeply with audiences. The narrative revolves around a young Zambian boy born with albinism who faced rejection from his father from the moment of his birth. Portrayed by Thabo Kaamba as a child and George Sikazwe as a young man, the character navigates a childhood marked by ‘bullying, tragedy, and cautious hope.’
The film opens with on-screen text, indicating that “Can You See Us?” draws inspiration from the true story of John Chiti. Chiti is a well-known Zambian singer with albinism, and he played a significant role in the film as an ‘additional writer’ on the script. In a 2020 interview with Thomas Reuters Foundation, he candidly shared his personal experiences of rejection, recounting how his birth led to his parents’ divorce. Despite the initial turmoil, Chiti went on to found the Albino Foundation of Zambia in 2008.
Reflecting on his early years, Chiti remarked, “I used to blame myself for being a person with albinism. I grew up with low self-esteem because I thought I’m not human enough. But it’s not us that have to change, it’s society that needs to change its attitudes towards us.”
Netflix describes “Can You See Us?” as ‘bittersweet, dark, and emotional,’ and viewers can attest to its emotional impact.
One Netflix user wrote, “Haven’t cried this much in a while; this was an amazing movie.” Others shared similar sentiments, with some admitting to ‘tearing up,’ and some claiming to have ‘cried from the beginning to the end.’
One viewer remarked, “The saddest film, but a real eye-opener too, it’s horrific that an innocent child can endure so much hatred. Broke my heart.” Another praised the film, saying, “Will melt your heart, this little boy will. Beautiful movie.”
However, many viewers issued a word of caution, emphasizing that “Can You See Us?” is ‘heartbreaking’ and advising others to ‘make sure you have tissues’ at hand before watching. One reviewer summed it up by stating, “Tugged all my heartstrings.”
“Can You See Us?” is currently available for streaming on Netflix, offering viewers an emotionally charged journey that leaves a lasting impact and underscores the importance of challenging societal attitudes towards those who are different.