Mid90s Movie Ending Explained (In Detail)

Spoilers Alert:

Jonah Hill’s directorial debut MID90S takes the viewer into the US skater scene of the 1990s. And in order for this to fully come into its own, you don’t need a constructed, complex story, just a lot of love for this time. We reveal more about this in our review.

The Plot Summary

The nineties. A time when skateboarding broke sporting conventions and you could impress girls with mixtapes. Stevie (Sunny Suljic) is 13 and growing up under difficult circumstances in Los Angeles. He spends his days playing “Street Fighter II” and secretly listening to his big brother’s (Lucas Hedges) CD collection over and over again. When he starts hanging out with the guys from the local skate shop, a whole new world opens up to him: skating in forbidden places, running away from the police, house parties and of course girls. Freed from the clutches of his single mother (Katherine Waterston) and the beatings of his brother, Stevie feels invincible – until he realizes that even his idols can get screwed. And not just when skating.

Movie explanation of the ending

The 1990s have rarely seemed interesting for filmmakers. They are too close to the present to be able to indulge in nostalgic memories of this time and at the same time they are too far away from the here and now to place a film there that is supposed to take place in the current time. But storytellers are slowly discovering the decade that has now passed over twenty years ago; certainly also due to the success of series like “Stranger Things” and Co. This week alone, two films set in the nineties are starting: the superhero blockbuster “Captain Marvel” and Jonah Hill’s directorial debut. The skateboard tragicomedy “Mid90s” has the reason for its location in this time almost in the title. For the two-time Oscar nominee Hill (2012 for “Moneyball” and 2014 for “The Wolf of Wall Street”), there is less of a desire to tell a complex story behind the start of a directing career that will hopefully lead to many more films of this quality. For him, “Mid90s” is a love letter to the 1990s, a journey through time, a snapshot. You should be aware of this if you decide to buy a cinema ticket – apparently not much will happen on the screen in the next 85. Nevertheless, after just a few minutes you feel embraced by a group of young adults who play their way into the hearts of the audience without any character conventions – simply because they feel real.

Stevie (Sunny Suljic) is fucked by fuckshit
(Olan Prenatt) and his clique were warmly welcomed.

However, this feeling of authenticity does not automatically make you feel comfortable. Let’s just remember films like “Kids” or “Trainspotting” – these are also milieu studies that focus on young adults, with whom the viewer would only want to spend screen moments but hardly any time in real life. The teens in “Mid90s” are – just like the whole film – different. Jonah Hill, who not only directed the film but also wrote the screenplay, portrays his young protagonists as rebellious, naive people who do not act correctly in every situation and repeatedly explore the boundary between legality and illegality. But the makers never push the teens’ lifestyle as a problem, never turn the milieu into something abysmal. On the one hand, the first sexual experiences also include the first consumption of intoxicants, as well as nights of drinking. Hill lets his protagonists experience in front of the camera everything that young people of their age, especially at that time, went through in their growing up years. And since the characters are always full of empathy for each other and full of passion for skating, “Mid90s” gives the viewer very intimate insights into this scene, similar to the skater clique with the newcomer Stevie. All of this is underlined by the fact that the main characters in “Mid90s” are fundamentally likeable. Gio Galicia, Ryder McLaughlin (“Ballers”) Olan Prenatt and Sunny Suljic (“The Killing of a Sacred Deer”) are the Heart of “Mid90s”.

Not all of them had already been in front of the camera before taking part in “Mid90s”. It pays off: The clique’s interaction seems so intuitive, as if Jonah Hill had never explicitly pointed out on set that filming was taking place. This in turn allows us to draw conclusions about what exactly the debutant director used as a template for his film: In so-called reverse skate videos, the focus is not on skating itself, but rather on the interaction of the people around it. So everything about “Mid90s” feels a little like you shouldn’t necessarily concentrate on what’s being brought into narrative focus in the film. Instead, it’s about soaking up the mood. To make this work even better, Hill doesn’t hold back when it comes to using explicit language (Hill even got something like absolution from his homosexual producer Scott Rudin to use the word “fagot”, simply because Kids back then would have used it just as bluntly as it does here in the film). But “Mid90s” only gets its very special nineties flair through its design. Cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt (“Certain Women”) shot on 16mm film in 4:3 format. In addition, the recordings look really worn – “Mid90s” could have been taken in the 1990s.

At home, Stevie is repeatedly bullied by his older brother Ian (Lucas Hedges).

Ultimately, “Mid90s” doesn’t come without a story. The film could probably best be described as “the coming-of-age of a thirteen-year-old,” especially since little Stevie is the only one who is still given the basic framework of a social background with his single mother Dabney and his violent brother Ian. Stevie’s family situation is full of interesting detailed observations (a beating scene between the two brothers in particular changes its tonal direction from recut to recut). Nevertheless, it’s almost a bit of a shame that Hill relies almost exclusively on look and feel in his film and only marginally considers interpersonal interaction outside of the skater clique. The hints about Stevie’s environment definitely have the potential to be told even further. But even so, “Mid90s” is constantly subject to tonal fluctuations that are sometimes even reminiscent of the best films by the Coen brothers (Jonah Hill actually sought advice from Ethan Coen and Martin Scorsese before filming). Sometimes the viewer witnesses bitterly evil situational comedy, other times scenes – especially those with Lucas Hedges (“The lost Son”) once again brilliantly embodied by Ian – read as a deeply sad drama. No moment in “Mid90s” can be viewed from only one perspective. This is the only way to create a kaleidoscope of diverse impressions that Jonah Hill brings to the screen with a fascination for the material.

Conclusion: Jonah Hill’s directorial debut “Mid90s” is a love letter to the US skateboarding scene of the 1990s, which embraces the viewer in the same gentle way that the skating boys embrace the outsider Stevie.

“Mid90s” can be seen in selected USA cinemas from March 7th.

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