Minding the Gap

  • Feature Film
  • 2019
  • 90 Mins

Bing Liu's debut film is a coming-of-age saga of three skateboarding friends in their Rust Belt hometown. In his quest to understand why he and his friends all ran away from home when they were younger, Bing follows 23-year-old Zack as he becomes a father and 17-year-old Keire as he gets his first job. While navigating a complex relationship between his camera and his friends, Bing explores the gap between fathers and sons, between discipline and domestic abuse and ultimately that precarious chasm between childhood and becoming an adult. A co-production of American Documentary | POV, ITVS and Kartemquin Films. A co-presentation with the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM). Nominated for Best Documentary Feature for the 91st Academy Awards (2019).

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Film Credits

  • Bing Liu

Critical Acclaim

Zack and Keire's stunts are action scenes that are imbued with the gravity of the participants' youth, revelry, and need to prove themselves.

Chuck Brown, Slant Magazine

Minding the Gap starts out as one story, suggests one set of character arcs, and then flows in unexpected directions and underlines new sets of themes, without ever feeling haphazard or ill-considered.

Dan Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter

Minding the Gap is an exceptionally reflective examination of the 29-year-old filmmaker’s life, and surroundings, and it works because the movie concerns so much more.

Michael Phillips, The Chicago Tribune

The skateboarding and camaraderie are contrapuntal notes, liberating flurries of motion in a powerful saga of kids who were — and in some cases still are — miserably stuck in place.

David Edelstein, Vulture

Minding the Gap is a personal documentary of the highest sort, in which the film’s necessity to the filmmaker—and its obstacles, its resistances, its emotional and moral demands on him—are part of its very existence.

Richard Brody, The New Yorker

Minding the Gap is an essay that never feels like an essay, an intelligent and compassionate grappling with some of the most painful issues presently haunting the body politic: toxic masculinity and domestic violence, economic depression and a deep, existential despair. But Liu doesn’t contrive a simplistic thesis on Middle American misery to suit himself and his friends.

Justin Chang, The Los Angeles Times

Minding the Gap is more than a celebration of skateboarding as a sport and a subculture. With infinite sensitivity, Mr. Liu delves into some of the most painful and intimate details of his friends’ lives and his own, and then layers his observations into a rich, devastating essay on race, class and manhood in 21st-century America.

A.O. Scott, The New York Times

Liu’s intimacy with his subjects becomes contagious, to the point where their small victories are thrilling and their failures feel devastating.

Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic

It’s heartbreaking, raw, and true. But it never veers into exploitation or becomes oppressively maudlin.

Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly

In a world full of images—full of people recording themselves and their friends doing dumb shit, or documenting attractive versions of themselves—Bing’s movie stands out for the complexity of its integrity, and its ability to reveal his own experiences empathically.

K. Austin Collins, Vanity Fair

It exists because it’s the movie Liu was born to make, the one he had to get off his chest before he could move on in his filmmaking career.

Peter Debruge, Variety

Liu creates an unforgettable film experience that will knock the wind out of you.

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Combining first-rate skate video footage with a range of confessional moments, Minding the Gap is a warmhearted look at the difficulties of reckoning with the past while attempting to escape its clutches.

Eric Kohn, Indiewire