Parents' Guide to

Minding the Gap

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Skateboarders try to overcome childhood abuse; language.

Movie NR 2018 93 minutes
Minding the Gap Poster Image

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What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 1 parent review

age 16+

Top notch documentary revealing skateboarding and trauma

A fantastic film! Honest, brutal, and searing in its complex revelations. Real stories of loss, pain, and trauma and how we make sense of our lives and try to push forward with the cards we are dealt. Interlaced with the role of systemic oppression, economically depressed towns, the normalization of domestic violence and you get a burrito of broken dreams and rough living. This documentary releases the attractiveness and beauty of skateboarding and its ability to test your physical abilities, stunning.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (2 ):

Director Bing Liu's film is a love letter to friendship and to the skateboarding that he feels saved his sanity as he endured childhood abuse at the hands of his mother's sadistic husband. When he asks on camera why it took her so long to get out of the abusive 17-year relationship, and why she didn't protect Bing from the abuser, she's contrite and admits she didn't want to be alone. And so Minding the Gap explains to us the fundamental reality that everyone has his or her reasons, even for doing terrible things.

Teens viewers whose parental experiences are not as traumatic may be shocked, but will probably appreciate their own good fortune. And those who see themselves in Bing, Zack and Keire -- kids for whom calling the cops to negotiate family disputes is an ordinary event -- may feel less alone. Parents may feel that frequent references to violence at home, and the use of street language, marijuana, and alcohol, may make this inappropriate for tweens and young teens. That such abusive patterns may be repeated by abuse victims on their own children and spouses is unflinchingly clear in scenes that describe Zack's depression and hopelessness and his unlucky child. His almost-obsessive use of curse words suggests his struggle to find words that express his pain and confusion. One of the film's most jarring moments comes when Keire recalls being "disciplined" by his father and matter-of-factly notes, "They call it child abuse now."

Movie Details

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