By Andrew Ayala
Jonah Hill makes his directorial debut with the moving visual masterpiece “Mid90s.”
The film, which feels like a bold blast from the past, follows Stevie, played by Sunny Suljic, a 13-year-old boy who spends his summer searching for himself away from his broken household and trying to find a deeper purpose of life.
He winds up finding his place skateboarding with neighborhood locals and learns that the life shown in skate videos doesn’t show everything that comes with the popular past-time.
He develops a bond with four teens who once shared similar dreams of becoming pro-skaters and making a living out of their hobby.
Ray, played by Na-kel Smith, and F**ksh*t played by Olan Prenatt are the most influential members of the group and prove to be idols to Stevie, Ruben, played by Gio Galicia, and Fourth Grade, played by Ryder McLaughlin.
Each come from different backgrounds but their paths intertwine due to skateboarding in back of their local skate shop.
The film shows Stevie’s rites of passage and how life can change in an instant, regardless of one’s age.
Hill does a wonderful job at writing a story that comes off natural and heartwarming.
The film is very nostalgic, from the clothes that are worn, the music that is chosen, the settings displayed and even the props that are seen and used.
One of the best parts about this movie is the audience doesn’t necessarily have to skateboard or understand the culture behind skateboarding.There are multiple messages and themes throughout the film that are relatable.
The raw emotion and depictions of certain subjects may make the film controversial due to the age group of the protagonists, but can be seen as necessary to be shown in order to spread awareness and show the truth.
There are moments that bring joy and excitement, anger and frustration and even sadness and despair, but they all come at appropriate times and show off Hill’s excellent writing and directing skills.
The bond and brotherhood that is formed by Stevie, Ray, F**ksh*t, Ruben and Fourth Grade seems genuine and makes the film flow properly.
Suljic does an especially great job at expressing emotion through dialogue and body language, despite being the youngest.
Since most of the cast are skateboarders in real life and have no previous acting experience, it is interesting to see them act as if they are at the bottom of the barrel. This seems to portray their characters properly.
It is also nice to see the multiple perspectives of the main characters, giving viewers a better understanding as to why they act or speak a certain way.
The way the film is shot makes it visually pleasing and shows how artistic Hill is.
From the close-ups to the wide angles, every shot has a purpose and a reason as to why it was filmed that way which can be understood by the dialogue or action that is going on.
There are no stones unturned and the audience will be entertained while understanding the multiple messages presented throughout the movie.
Those who have seen other skateboarding films will be able to feel and see the influence of “Kids” by Larry Clark, due to certain scenes and styles that are shown.
Hill and the cast present a perfect coming-of-age film that perfectly captures what being a skateboarder in Los Angeles in the ‘90s was like.
There’s something to love for every viwer no matter the age group, and its a milestone for skateboarding films and the skate-rat culture.
This film was released exclusively at theatres in New York and Los Angeles on Oct. 19, but will be released nationwide today.
This film is rated R for persuasive language, sexual content, drug and alcohol use and some violent behavior/disturbing images that involve minors.