Matt Heimiller’s review published on Letterboxd:
Everything you've heard about it hitting the nostalgia spot, capturing a moment- it's all true. It's a great work that, with the exception of a few faces you'll know, feels delivered from a time machine/capsule.
As to the moral component, the film is wildly clear eyed, maybe to a fault. Clear eyed for example about the pitfalls of running away from home, being a little shit, not being taught anything re morals or really anything, partying, gender segregation and the toxic mismatch of what 90s pop dating means for *children* -what's the age of the main character, 10??? Who "loses his virginity" in a high pressure social world he's just not ready for period.
It's so many social issues packed in. There's even a speech after a bunch of shit goes down where the responsible skate patriarch of the group says, "that's a lot of shit but there's SO MUCH MORE shit in the world"
Like I said, on the moral component, it's almost too much and especially in that it's all kind of just presented. Truthfully presented, but some issues that are more complicated, like the early sexual exposure stuff, are a lot more of a hidden harm than the movie has time for. It's mostly bruises and blood that really punctuate when the film is clearly saying something is right and wrong.
For a more in depth and realistic treatment of only one of the social issues raised in the context of skate culture, Minding The Gap shows in non-fiction what is highly compressed here- trauma is a long, personal and often vague battle that's hiding, flairs up across a life and without the kind of drama that demands attention unless it's specifically given to address the problem.
One more thing about mid90s, all the kid casting is great. The main kid is this big eyed little guy you'll fall in love with and your heart will hurt as he's soured on life and really gets destroyed in this film. Over and over just destroyed. It's a bit superficial to say this but it's a double hit because he is so young, playing younger and cute as a button.