Mid90s review: Jonah Hill’s directorial debut dives into the world of skating

Written By: Alexia Ureña

Jonah Hill’s directorial debut, Mid90s, is a love-letter to the gritty world of skateboarding in Los Angeles.

The story follows the life of 13 year old, Stevie (Sunny Suljic), as he navigates the beginning of his adolescence. In an effort to move away from his disengaged mother Dabney (Katherine Waterston) and his abusive brother Ian (Lucas Hedges), Stevie finds solace in a group of older skateboarders. He is quickly immersed into a whirlwind of firsts, and is faced with new situations both dangerous and exciting. Stevie falls in love with skating in every aspect from its vast culture to the values it represents.  

Stevie’s new friends and the environment they live in may be rough, but there are strong feelings of brotherhood beneath the slight tension and competition amongst the crew. He is eager to be a part of the group, using both his innocence and strength to gain their trust and admiration.

Mid90s emphasizes the value of your chosen family, proving that you can build equally powerful bonds with friends and find happiness outside of a difficult home situation.

The movie truly does bring audiences back to the time of its title, with every detail in the film reminiscent of the decade of the Super Nintendo and Nirvana.

The movie is incredibly raw, feeling more like a documentary than a Hollywood picture at multiple points throughout. This is partially due to the fact that Hill opted to cast real skaters rather than professional actors (of which there are only two). The group of skateboarders spent their first acting gig playing a role that resembles their real lives and everything mentioned about the meaning of skating feels like it comes from their hearts.            

Audiences may not have expected Hill, an actor known for movies like Superbad or 21 Jump Street, to make a movie like Mid90s. While the film definitely includes some comedy, it covers a roller-coaster of emotions. It takes the audience through moments of pride and joy to several instances of gut-wrenching anxiety and tear-jerking sadness.

Hill and the cast managed to capture skate culture in its honest form, without patronizing a community that is often butchered in movies. Mid90s encapsulates a beloved era and captures the essence of Hill’s first love. The film is available on iTunes and Amazon on December 21.


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