Written & Directed By: Jonah Hill
Cinematography: Christopher Blauvelt
Editor: Nick Houy
Music By: Atticus Ross & Trent Reznor
Cast: Sunny Suljic, Na-kel Smith, Olan Prenett, Gio Calicia, Ryder Maclaughlin, Lucas Hedges Katherine Waterston, Alexa Demie, Alma Elsesser
Follows Stevie, a thirteen-year-old in 1990s-era Los Angeles who spends his summer navigating between his troubled home life and a group of new friends that he meets at a Motor Avenue skate shop.
Shot entirely on 16mm film.
The film feels familiar to a degree. Yet fun and moving to watch. As it is obviously a personal film from Writer-Director Jonah hill it’s very inspired and very identifiable personally for people my age. As I remember growing up during the same time. Not necessarily under the same circumstances but the culture and music all feel authentic and Bring it back. Especially the soundtrack.
Clearly the aim for this moves are more the emotional highs rather the. The physical ones. As there is plenty of skateboarding but less then expected throughout. There is no scene that chooses to show the art and beauty of it. It is just an activity that helps untie the characters and opens up a world and offers friends and experiences for the main protagonist.
At first the film makes you feel bombarded to make you remember the time period it is set in. While generally revealing the character family situation and illustrating his mother and brother. Not exactly explaining them but exposing us to their dynamic. As his older brother is quite angry and a bully but he still looks up to him. Even if it’s never quite fully explained the cause of his anger. The film leaves us to infer the cause or many causes of it.
It generally leaves Stevie our protagonist looking to belong. As he seems to have no real friends. Nor does his brother and they both seem to be alone for the most part. So we see the alienation if being an outsider. His brother struggles with his toughness over what he can control. While Stevie seems to self abuse himself in a way to deal with his problems.
This is where the film becomes quite revealing while not overdoing it. Nor focusing on this behavior for the rest of the film. Though it does help explain his character threshold for pain and indignity at times.
Like the film THIRTEEN you constantly look at Sunny Suljjc and are reminded how young he is while going through these teenage rites of life around his crew who are noticeably all older then him.
It’s Also plainly obvious in a seduction scene with a female co-star. Where it seems almost a teenage fantasy. Though it could be seen as her taking advantage of someone so young .
Though you also are reminded of the hardships he is going through. Throughout though also feel the joy and happiness he feels when hanging with this crew. We also notice how lucky he might be as they all have their problems that are kind of worse to a degree but you could never tell by their behavior.
It’s hard to tell at times what is scripted and what is improvised at times. As the skater crew seems to be playing versions of themselves and are so charismatic and entertaining they come across as flawless and funny. More natural then anything. As well slowly get to know their problems. Especially towards the end as jealousy and maturing seems to be tearing them apart.
This is a film where the characters make all the difference. As we always hear about them wanting to do something with their loves but only mom seems to actually be trying.
Katherine Waterston plays the only parent and really the only recurring adult character throughout the film and while she represents authority. Her character is kind of struggling herself to a degree.
It’s a Skate boarding movie where it is in it but it all the movie is about and has some of it. It Says something about friendship being like family help you define yourself. But feels like it other movies you have seen before, but also how many stories of coming of age have you seen from successful white males. That while individual feel familiar or the same. They have their right as we go through similar growing pains, but you yearn for something different. It sometimes feels like a procedural while different circumstances it usually has the same endings and moments.
Give the film credit it’s more diverse trying to show how we are all the same but race or how perceived can tear us apart but also finding comfort in a culture and cultivating it or putting up a front like his brother.
The Seduction scene at party is innocent yet strangely sexy
You feel like you have seen the film before but it also feels like a film that could have come from the decade it is set in as many of the references the film has or the films inspirations seem to come from that era.
It’s a good film that never quite becomes as deep as it aims, but is moving all the same in it’s Own way. A triumph