“Mid90s” is a coming-of-age story about a 13-year-old Stevie growing up around Los Angeles in, you guessed it, the mid 90s. The film serves as Jonah Hill’s directorial debut and he brings his A-game. The film’s aesthetic is a testament to its authenticity, as the movie almost watches as a documentary or a film that was made in the 1990’s. The film is shot and screened in a 4:3 aspect ratio which when coupled with the set design, really creates the nostalgic vibe. After its look, the films second strongest asset is its performances. Whether it be the supporting characters, bit parts, or even the films lead, every actor/actress seems to perfectly embody their character. Standouts include Lucas Hedges portrayal of Stevie’s abusive and tormented older brother and Katherine Waterston’s depiction of the boys’ equally tormented mom. The film reminded me of Lady Bird, in that it is fast paced, is the debut of an actor-turned-director, and tells the story of an adolescent coming of age in California. There are so many moments where the movie will hit you right in the gut, as you feel awful for what the circumstances the characters find themselves in. And while the film is a rollercoaster of emotion, it falters towards the end where it attempts to make a stance on the characters actions throughout the movie, and this happens rather out of the blue. The film will most likely get some looks come Oscar season, whether that be Hill for director, an editing nom, or even potentially the film’s scorers, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Overall, Mid90s delivers an incredibly strong portrait of a young man and his friends just trying to bridge the gap that exists between childhood and adulthood, and the movie shows all the ugliness that comes along with that. This is a movie that satisfies and works to build hype for whatever Hill does next.
Jacob Hales, Features Writer