#TIFF18: “MID90s” REVIEW
Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
With Mid90s, Oscar-nominee Jonah Hill makes the leap from acting to writing/directing. The Film revolves around 13-year-old Stevie (Sunny Suljic), trying to fit in and find his place in the world. His Mom Dabney (Katherine Waterston) is not the best parent and his older brother Ian (Lucas Hedges) is constantly beating and abusing him. With no friends to turn to, Stevie starts hanging out at a local skate shop and makes friends with a crew of older skateboarders – who may be inspiring a few wrong impressions.
Hill’s directorial debut is far from perfect, but is admirable and notable. The look and nostalgic feel of the Film is spot-on, and the loud Sondtrack (complete with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross Score) is magnificent. And while the casting is great overall, Suljic’s performance is absolutely brilliant as the precocious, impressionable and quietly hilarious Stevie. My main gripe is that outside of one deeply emotional scene involving Stevie and older skateboarder Ray (Na-kel Smith), there are too few genuine coming-of-age moments. Hill hints at them (and some deeper, darker closeted demons), but he never elaborates or goes into any sort of depth. It all just feels like a big lead up to nothing much at all. I wanted to learn more about these kids and Stevie’s family life. And with a running time of 84-minutes, there was definitely some time that could have been spent on it.
Also, does it horrify anyone else that a film set in the 1990s is now considered a period piece?
Mid90s screens on Sunday, September 9 at 9:15 PM at Ryerson Theatre [World Premiere], Monday, September 10 at 2:45 PM at TIFF Bell Lightbox and Friday, September 14 at 6:00 PM at Ryerson Theatre.