Director: Jonah Hill
Starring: Sunny Suljic, Lucas Hedges, Katherine Waterston
More often than not, movies that flirt heavily with nostalgia spend more time on the accuracy of a setting’s decade and not enough time on believability and character development, this happens so much to the point where the whole thing becomes a bit of a gimmick. That is most definitely not the case with Jonah Hill’s directorial debut Mid90s. It is clear that this film takes place in the 90’s, but it’s never overbearingly 90’s, and though the 90’s is the film’s backdrop, the story that is told will forever remain timeless. The film’s protagonist is a 13 year old boy name Stevie who comes from a troubled home in Los Angeles, CA. Played with impressive realism by Sunny Suljic, this character represents the adolescence we all go through in our teen years. The struggle to find our own identities and the search for where we fit in. In a similar fashion as Elsie Fisher’s character in the film Eighth Grade, Suljic gives the character of Stevie much depth by saying very little. His reactions to the environment around him whether it be his home life consisting of an abusive older brother and a neglectful mother, or the solace he finds in befriending a group of skaters are executed perfectly. The skater kids he hangs out with do an impressive job considering the fact that none of them are actors, and their portrayals of these characters are frighteningly realistic, but there is one character that stands out and brings much depth to the film, and that character is music. The film is delightfully littered with 90’s Hip Hop, but it’s the film’s original film score composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross that truly captivates you. Jonah Hill’s love for music is very clear seeing as how he truly knows how to utilize music to tell a lot during a scene with little to no dialogue. Scenes that display Stevie’s first encounter with escapism through the utopia of music he finds in his brother’s room, and scenes where the atmosphere of a skate park is beautifully presented, they’re all enhanced by the film score. It’s an accurate representation of how even in our most confused or insecure moments, the power of music can get us through the biggest hardships. Yes many of the film’s themes and subject matter have been depicted countless times in film, but these are things we still go through everyday. We all try to understand the ranks of social interaction, and we all search for identity, and this film presents that to us in a realistic, humorous, and artistic way. This may lead to a fruitful directing career for Hill.
Written By: Steven Sandoval