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The Storytelling in “Mid90s”

Mid90s is a 2018 film written and directed by Jonah Hill. The film centers around Stevie, an 11 year old boy who takes up skateboarding. Stevie lives with his mother and abusive brother and he soon seeks friendship in a group of older skater boys. The film is full of beautiful cinematography and is matched with an even more rich storyline. On the surface it looks like a film about a kid that starts skateboarding, when in actuality it’s about find a sense of family within your friends.

From the beginning of the film it is very clear of the relationship between Stevie and his older brother, Ian. Ian is aggressive and abusive towards Stevie, none the less though we still Stevie going through his brothers room and listening to his music. Stevie sees his brother as someone to look up to and he thinks if he likes the same things as him then Ian will think he’s cool. He starts to realize that no matter what he does he will never get his brother to like him so he starts hanging around a skate shop and learning to skateboard. Here he befriends older skaters that taking a liking to Stevie, especially the leader of the pack, Ray. Ray begins to become the older brother figure for Stevie that he always wished he had.

Eventually after a fight with his mom, Stevie and Ray have a heart to heart where Ray tells Stevie about how just messed up everyone in their friend groups lives are, even his own. Ray reveals to Stevie that he used to have a younger brother but he died. It becomes more clear to the audience now why Ray has taken such a liking to Stevie, he looks at him like a younger brother. By telling Stevie all of these details about their friends lives he’s showing him that no one has a perfect life, but they do have each other and they have skating which is a lot more than other people have.

When we hit a certain age we start to look at our friends as our family more than our own. We see them as the only people that understand us and everything we’re going through and everything we feel. They are the people that see us more than our own families, and sometimes they are the only people we feel we can be ourselves around. When you’re young it can be hard to feel like your parents understand you and everything you are going through, especially when your home life is not ideal, like the boys in the film. One of these boys being Ruben. Aside from Stevie, Ruben is the second youngest in the group. When Stevie starts getting attention from the other guys, especially Ray, Ruben begins to grow jealous of Stevie and starts being an asshole towards him. Once we find our Rubens mother is an alcoholic that beats him it becomes clear why his attitude towards Stevie is less than friendly. He sees Stevie as a threat, he’s worried that he’ll lose his friends because they like Stevie better, especially Ray who he looks up to. Rueben doesn’t really have a family, skating and these guys are all he’s got and he’s not gonna let someone get in the way of that.

This film depicts growing up so well, even if you’re circumstances are not the same as Stevie’s. At one time or another we’ve all had friends that make us feel like we belong or we’ve had that one thing that didn’t just feel like a hobby, it felt like a way of life. Most times when skateboarding is depicted in films it’s in a cheesy way, which is insulting to the culture and subculture that surround it. Skateboarding isn’t just a hobby for these kids, it’s an outlet and a safe haven from all the shit in their lives. Growing up sucks. You feel like no one understands what you’re going through except you. You have so many people telling you what to do and the kind of person you should be. I think adults often think when you’re young you don’t know how to run your own life or make your own decisions, but a lot of kids are forced to grow up a lot faster than others. You tell them that you can handle yourself but then you make one mistake and they’r in your face telling you “I told you so”. Mistakes are all a part of growing up, if you never make them than you’ll never learn. Same goes for branching off into the world and finding people and things that make you happy and bring you a sense of security.

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