'Baltimore Rising': What they're saying about HBO documentary on post-Freddie Gray Baltimore

HBO's "Baltimore Rising" opens on a brilliant note. The documentary directed by Sonja Sohn, of "The Wire," instantly establishes itself visually with a slow scan of the boarded-up row houses that have become the dominant media image of this city. But that is just the platform for a very deep dive.

“Baltimore Rising,” the HBO documentary about Baltimore in the aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death, premiered Monday. Here’s a sampling of how people and critics reacted to the film, directed by Sonja Sohn of “The Wire.”

Many were moved by the documentary’s portrayal of Baltimore.


Others saw gaps in the documentary.

For some, it brought back emotional memories from the 2015 unrest.

Sohn’s work earned the praise of “The Wire” creator David Simon.

Activists like Makayla Gilliam-Price and Kwame Rose, featured in the documentary, weighed in online — as did those who know them.

Overall, critics had positive things to say about “Baltimore Rising.”

Newsday’s Verne Gay praised the documentary’s message, saying “’Rising is optimistic, but it’s not delusional.’”

Hank Stuever at The Washington Post, however, found the film to be “fascinating yet noticeably scattered,” writing: “If community organizers and protesters have a hard time harnessing their anger and finding narrative satisfaction in despair, then how can anyone else? A movie about their frustration ought to be equally frustrating to watch — and this one is.”

IndieWire’s Steve Greene praised how Sohn highlighted the humanity of the people in the documentary, calling it a “vital portrait of activism, anger, and a city’s search for justice and healing.”

“Baltimore Rising” is available to stream on and will re-air on HBO and HBO2 over the next few weeks. Click here for a full schedule.

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