This is a movie that, when I think back upon, I notice issues that I did not think about when first watching it.
I will say on the first viewing of Mid90s, the directorial debut of Jonah Hill, I enjoyed the narrative of the film and I did not have much problems with it with a notable exception of an uncomfortable sex scene that I wondered how they could get away with filming.
However, in retrospect, there are issues of misogyny, homophobic behavior and the aforementioned sex scene that should be questioned in a film being released in 2018. I will say that the film is taking place in the mid 1990s and much of the language and thoughts are accurate to the times being shown. Does that “artistic vision” make the use of these acceptable? Were they necessary to display the time frame of the mid 1990s accurately or does it just highlight a deeper problem in the script?
It is hard to say. If you remove the questionable material, you still have a story of a young boy Stevie (Sunny Suljic) who has an abusive older brother (Lucas Hedges) and a mother (Katherine Waterston- dreadfully under used here) who has her own problems to deal with. Stevie finds a connection with a group of skateboarders made up of older kids, led by the cool older boy and best skateboarder among them Ray (Na-kel Smith). Stevie bonds with this group and faces the problems of alcohol and drug abuse, jealousy from within and teenage rebellion.
This group of skateboarders was shown considerably more developed than a typical movie of this fashion. Each member of the group had their own motivations and personalities and it makes this seem like a much more realistic film. Yes, the female characters of this movie, including the terribly undervalued Katherine Waterston, are poorly developed and based on cliches and stereotypes, but the film’s main focus is on the group of boys.
There are some really powerful scenes, but there are also some scenes that feel disjointed and out of place. Some of it is uncomfortable and other aspects of it are very strong. Much of the language is irritating to listen to, but it certainly is the way teens talked during that time period.
My first response after walking out of the theater was positive for Mid90s and I will be giving the movie a recommendation, but I would warn those who may be easily offended that this may not be the film for you.