Movie review by
Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media
Mid90s Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Edgy coming-of-age comedy has language, drinking, violence.
  • R
  • 2018
  • 84 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 20 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Characters make some poor decisions, have a cloud of iffy stuff hovering around them, but ultimately story of misfits finding each other to form real friendships stresses value of family you choose and importance of finding your people, acceptance, and something you're passionate about.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Everyone does wrong things, some more than others. The struggling single mom does her best. The most together of the skateboarders, Ray, is a genuinely good guy who's empathetic, but he also makes poor choices -- including a potentially fatal one.


Quite a bit of fighting among teens, including some pretty brutal bullying of Stevie by his older, bigger brother. Characters take many spills on/off their skateboards, including a violent fall off a roof. Serious car accident.


Evidence/discussion of mother's sex life. But sexual encounter explored in film is between teens -- including one who's apparently 13, but looks younger. Scene stops short of nudity, but it's discussed in some detail. Some viewers may be troubled by participants' apparent youth.


Persistent strong language, especially "f--k"; many more, including "p-ssies," "s--t," "a--holes," "d--k," "bitches," "hell," "damn," "oh my f---ing God," etc. Frequent use of racist, homophobic slurs. Most use cases aren't based on actual hatred of people who are gay, black, etc., but use accurately depicts the kind of (for example) casually homophobic culture that can be so damaging. Teens curse at adults, including strangers on the street (even challenging one to a fight), suffer no consequences.


Logos on skateboards sold in the film's skate gear store.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Extensive drinking and partying by teens (as young as 13), including driving drunk and getting involved in sexual situations while under the influence. Kids smoke tobacco and marijuana.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mid90s is an edgy coming-of-age story set in 1990s Los Angeles about an unhappy young teen named Stevie (Sunny Suljic) who finds his people: a group of skateboarding, drinking older teens. Expect lots of strong language throughout, especially "f--k," but also many others, as well as racist and homophobic slurs. There's a fair amount of fighting, including brutal bullying by Stevie's bigger brother. A sexual encounter between young teens, including the young-looking 13-year-old main character, is shown right up until the point that nudity would occur and is described in some detail later. Teen characters drink a lot, drive drunk, and smoke both tobacco and pot. Jonah Hill's debut as a writer-director also stars Lucas Hedges and Katherine Waterston.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byney_thee November 2, 2018

Yes the content is a bit iffy (and mostly has no consequence), but it doesn't detract from the near-perfect writing on display

Is there drinking, profanity, and drugs? Yes. Is it glorified? Yes. Is that a problem? That depends on who you are. The previously mentioned content doesn... Continue reading
Adult Written byYou are love February 20, 2021

Normalizes pedophilia

It’s great in many aspects, the skate scene, the characters, the music, but Hill did not have to use an adult (irl +/- 26) and a child (irl +/- 12) in a contact... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byb89 May 10, 2019

Profoundly Moving Cinema

Jonah Hill’s directing debut is the best film of 2018. The way Hill effortlessly places the camera in such raw scenes, proves how far he’ll go to ensure a reali... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byAceis June 17, 2020

Really good just a bit more mature.

Mid90s is really good. Although there is a lot of swearing and one of the characters names are two curses. I think mid90s is good for age 13+ because as long a... Continue reading

What's the story?

In MID90S Los Angeles, disaffected Stevie (Sunny Suljic) lives unhappily with his domineering, bullying brother, Ian (Lucas Hedges), and his lonely, struggling single mother, Dabney (Katherine Waterston). Looking to find his people -- and his identity -- Stevie falls in with a group of older skateboarding teens (led by Na-kel Smith) for a summer of skating, drinking, bad decisions, and growing up. The film marks two-time Oscar-nominated actor Jonah Hill's debut as a writer-director.

Is it any good?

This edgy comedy feels autobiographical because the characters' little triumphs are too little to be lied about; the details feel real. The characters' aspirations may not involve saving the universe, but they seem entirely important to them. The dual facts of that smallness and the unvarnished, shall we say, "messed-upness" of Mid90s fuel its authenticity and make it more memorable than most coming-of-age tales. It's very much in the vein of Summer '03 and other unapologetic portraits of teen fumblings in all their glory (and stupidity). The relationships at home, especially the lack of empathy and respect that Stevie and his brother show their mom, will make adults cringe. These kids make some very poor decisions, including getting into a car with a driver who's clearly hammered. But they also find real friendship on the way to exploring who they may want to be.

Suljic certainly inhabits Stevie. He was apparently around 11 when the film was shot, which underlines the uncomfortable feeling that 13-year-old Stevie is simply too young for the things he's getting into. Waterston is sympathetic, and Hedges is a rising star. But the movie's real find is professional skateboarder/musician Smith as Ray, the ringleader. His understated performance is quiet and assured. It builds your confidence in this aspiring skateboarder -- who, it turns out, actually sees the people around him. Hill immerses viewers in the world of skate culture and teen indolence but dodges "skate porn" and "nostalgia porn" (though he did shoot the movie in old-fashioned 4:3 aspect ratio) to focus on real-feeling characters who have believable struggles. There are sequences of Mid90s that some viewers will find totally unacceptable, but (with the exception of one character not being in jail at the end) everything about it feels totally believable.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the way that teen drinking/"partying" is portrayed in Mid90s. Does it seem realistic? How did it make you feel? Are there realistic consequences? Why does that matter?

  • How is sex depicted in the movie? Is it taken seriously or casually? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.

  • Which audience do you think this film was intended to appeal to: teens or adults who were teens in the '90s? How can you tell?

  • Did your feelings toward the older brother change over the course of the film? How about toward the mother? Why do you think the kids were so disrespectful to her?

  • What were each of the friends' dreams, if any? Do you think they were realistic?

Movie details

  • In theaters: October 19, 2018
  • On DVD or streaming: January 8, 2019
  • Cast: Sunny Suljic, Na-Kel Smith, Katherine Waterston, Lucas Hedges
  • Director: Jonah Hill
  • Studio: A24
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Run time: 84 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: pervasive language, sexual content, drug and alcohol use, some violent behavior/disturbing images - all involving minors
  • Last updated: February 20, 2021

Our editors recommend

For kids who love coming-of-age stories

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