SELECTED PRESS COVERAGE
"Extraordinary... 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."
– Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
"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
"There isn't a word of explicit politics in the film, but Liu's confrontation with abuse and trauma as a way of confronting its unconscious legacy, of changing one's own behavior and improving one's own life and the lives of one's own family and friends, is an essentially and crucially political act."
– Richard Brody, The New Yorker
"An extraordinary feat of filmmaking... 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
"In a world full of images...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
"Minding the Gap is about youthful escapism, personal expression, and the cold realization that you can't stay a kid forever. It's heartbreaking, raw, and true."
– Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly
"Weaving sensational boys-on-the-board footage into the stories of his friends (and himself) as they try to negotiate the sharp turns and tumbles of their lives in a city on the skids, Liu creates an unforgettable film experience that will knock the wind out of you."
– Peter Travers, ROLLING STONE
"A documentary with an angry undercurrent, it’s also an affectionate study of Mr. Liu’s longtime, hardcore skateboarding friends—each of whom is trying to map a course from mangled childhood to unsteady maturity. As such, it possesses an intimacy that could never be acquired without years of shared experience, and heartache. And probably road rash."
– John Anderson, WALL STREET JOURNAL
"What starts as a raucous celebration of youthful freedom consciously expands to cover the bonds of friendship, racial identity, the hard slog of being responsible, and the generational after-effects of trauma."
– Robert Abele, THE WRAP
"[Liu] invites us to invites us to laugh, to cry, to yell, change allegiances, and above all, reflect. Perhaps his film’s greatest strength is its cohesion, even as it jumps between characters and through time without warning. It’s tightly assembled around a single thing—trauma. Trauma here is not a motif. It’s a medium."
– Travis DeShong, Forbes
"A layered, complex portrait of a group of broken young men."
– G. ALLEN JOHNSON, SF CHRONICLE
"It's a sight to behold, the way Minding the Gap organically evolves from a meditative portrait of skateboarding – complete with gorgeously fluid Steadicam shots of boarders ripping down city streets – into a nuanced character study of repressed trauma."
– VIKRAM MURTHI, AV CLUB
"Liu's searching, intimate documentary insightfully explores the fraught space between boyhood and manhood in Rust Belt America."
– Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair
"This gritty documentary from breakout first-timer Bing Liu follows a pair of friends he made in his Illinois hometown, on radically different tracks of life... Don't miss this."
– CHARLES BRAMESCO, ROLLING STONE
"Much of "Minding the Gap" is painful to witness, but as past and present intersect and recombine and Liu's wealth of footage coalesces, the finished film becomes a cautiously hopeful and even cathartic experience."
– MICHAEL PHILLIPS, CHICAGO TRIBUNE
"The score by Nathan Halpern and Chris Ruggiero is sparse and beautiful and perfect. The editing is brilliant, as we jump back in forth in time, seeing these three as kids and then as young men, marveling at their skateboard moves and smiling at their rebellious spirit, and wondering if there’s any hope for any of them given all they’ve been through in their young lives."
– RICHARD ROEPER, cHICAGO SUN-TIMES
"Minding the Gap is no ordinary entry in the genre... it exists because it’s the movie Liu was born to make."
– PETER DEBRUGE, VARIETY
"Minding the Gap feels deceptively loose, even rambling, but as the seasons pass (the film takes place over four years), you begin to feel Liu’s drive toward catharsis for all three of his main characters. (He’s the third.) The climactic sequence is a tour de force."
– David edelstein, VULTURE
"Throughout Minding the Gap, Liu masterfully uses his insider's access, managing to stay inside and outside the material at once."
– CHUCK BOWEN, SLANT MAGAZINE
"The film is impressive in many ways, but Liu's balancing act of subjective and objective perspectives is astonishing... Part memoir, part social problem film, Minding the Gap is a treasure of a documentary."
– CHRISTOPER CAMPBELL, thrillest
"A penetrating, complex exploration of friendship, compassion, personal growth... a stunning examination of human success and failure"
– CHRISTOPHER LLEWELLYN REED, HAMMER TO NAIL
"One of the greatest coming-of-age films ever made... Bing Liu has caught lightning in a bottle."
– MUSANNA AHMED, FILM INQUIRY
"A searing portrait of manhood crippled by internalized trauma and fraught with economic scarcity... Remarkably sensitive."
– KELLI WESTON, THE SKINNY
"Minding the Gap brings sensitivity and firsthand authority to its portrait of boys trying to become men in a depressed Midwestern city."
– ANN HORNADAY, THE WASHINGTON POST
"There haven’t been many better documentaries about sensitive masculinity; there’s a beautiful lack of sentimentality to Bing’s depiction of time passing too quickly for comfort."
– Charlie Phillips, The Guardian
"What began as an intimate ode to the simple joys of skateboarding while being young and carefree, a family drama of two young twenty-somethings raising a child together, and the struggle to make a living in a small city seamlessly slides into the spiralling pain of intergenerational trauma, domestic abuse, and toxic masculinity... There’s urgency to their lives, to Liu’s introspection, to the staggering difference between hope and despondency that Minding the Gap bears on its shoulders."
– Josh Hamm, Screen Anarchy
"Minding The Gap is ultimately more than the sum of its parts; amid the home-video skate footage (a highlight for adrenaline junkies and film lovers alike) and deceptively small-scale story, Liu’s film holds a wealth of timely insight on so much of what plagues America right now: toxic masculinity, domestic and gendered violence, fractured family life, a stagnant rural economy, and deep-seated issues of class and race. "
– Paloma Pacheco, SAD Mag
"Bing Liu's astonishing and heartbreaking debut documentary unfolds as a powerful saga of self-discovery, uncompromising dreams and finding a path toward survival and true happiness." (4/4 stars)
– JIM BRUNZELL III, STAR TRIBUNE
"The arc of the film recreates the act of learning that the world is more complicated and in many ways harsher than you thought, and it does so in a way that remains totally surprising and fresh throughout its running time, even after it becomes clear what the actual film, once it's no longer a skateboarding movie."
– TIM BRAYTON, ALTERNATE ENDING
"A stunning love letter to the escapist act of skateboarding... and a fierce attempt at healing and reconciliation with the past."
– justin nguyen, ucsd guardian
"Enriching, courageous, thought-provoking... Minding the Gap becomes a sterling example of the enduring significance of the documentary medium."
– Grant Phipps, TONE MADISON
"Accomplished and deeply moving"
– ROB THOMAS, THE CAP TIMES
"What Liu renders crystal-clear in Minding the Gap is that all his friends—and indeed, many skaters around the world and throughout time—are trying to make up for families and societies that let them down, trying to build adulthood atop childhoods they feel they didn't have. It's a hard lesson, but one rendered tolerable, for us and for the film's subjects, by the frame of skating's lyric poetry in space, its stubborn grace against all odds."
– BRIANE HOWE, INDY WEEK
"A seamless symphony of anguish and euphoria"
– Matt Fagerholm, rogerebert.com
"This film is nothing less than a watershed – there has never been a more in-depth portrayal of late-adolescent masculinity."
– Douglas Whitbread, CPH Post
"With unassuming skill and style, Liu combines the personal, aesthetic, and political into one integrated work of art."
– peter keough, the boston globe
"Heartbreakingly honest... The footage that makes up Minding the Gap remains raw and true to the end."
– Eric Hynes, film comment
"An audacious feature debut on all levels...This edition of the festival has marked [Liu] as a storyteller to watch."
— Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter
"If we are lucky, you’ll be reading more about and even seeing movies like 'Skate Kitchen,' from Crystal Moselle, a dreamy female friendship movie about teenage girl skateboarders in New York, which would work on a double bill with the affecting documentary 'Minding the Gap,' directed by Bing Liu, who follows a troika of skateboarders into manhood in Rockford, Ill."
— Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
"This year's Sundance may well be defined by the host of innovative ways filmmakers found to tell personal stories...the most touching of these self-reflexive projects was Bing Liu's intimate look at a pair of childhood friends he's been filming for nearly a decade."
— Peter Debruge, VARIETY: "THE 10 BEST FILMS FROM SUNDANCE 2018"
"A lyrical skateboard ballet when it wants to be and critical introspection amidst the tumult of family and friendship when it absolutely has to be."
“Bing Liu’s lovely portrait of wayward men stumbling into early adulthood functions both as a snapshot of their tumultuous lives and Liu’s own experience alongside them. 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… it contains a staggering degree of maturity for a movie directed and focused on such young subjects.”
— Eric Kohn, IndieWire
“Bing Liu not only has an excellent eye but deeper ambitions… There’s something deeply resonant in the way Liu captures a time when young men are both child and adult, especially if they have open wounds from their difficult youth that may have stunted their maturity… Minding the Gap is a film about modern millennial masculinity in a way that breaks the stereotypes and asks us to confront not only cycles of abuse but how they shape both the memories we want to suppress and the friendships we never want to forget at the same time.”
— Brian TAllerico, RogerEbert.com
"Touching, legendary, and brilliant."
– PATRICK Sølberg SOUNDVENUE
"Bing Liu’s “Minding the Gap” skillfully balances social issues with compelling characters."
— Anthony Kaufman, IndieWire
"Often troubling and deeply moving, a story about the ways that generational violence and poverty affect families and cities...as a work of nonfiction, it's stunning; as a piece of storytelling, it's heartbreaking."
— Alissa Wilkinson, Vox: "Sundance 2018: 7 DOCUMENTARIES YOU CAN'T MISS"
“‘Burden’ and ‘Minding the Gap’ are among the best movies coming out of Park City...Bing Liu’s deeply felt look at himself and his skateboarding pals, Zack and Keire, is an intense story about the repeating cycle of domestic violence in a depressed town. Liu’s camerawork and editing are amazing. ★★★★”
— Sean Means, The Salt Lake Tribune: "10 tITLES EARNING RAVE REVIEWS as the sundance film festival reaches its final weekend"
"Incredibly powerful...the work of a filmmaker willing to acknowledge that sometimes, seeing better, seeing differently, is more important than understanding.”
— Bilge Ebiri, The Village Voice
“It seems impossible for “Minding the Gap” to be as inspiring as it is, given its difficult subject matter, but just the fact that someone with Liu’s background could make it fills one with hope and that he is able to articulate such an amorphous issues as domestic abuse and generational transference with such emotional precision makes for a truly moving experience.”
— Stephen Saito, The Moveable Feast
"Powerful and intimate...a tour de force of documentary filmmaking."
— John Fink, The Film Stage
“What starts as a movie about slackers lighting off fireworks and drinking beers on rooftops becomes a nuanced, carefully modulated study of domestic abuse, particularly the way violence cycles through generations of family members.”
— Dan Jackson, Thrillist: "BEST MOVIES FROM SUNDANCE 2018"
"There are few things more exciting in non-fiction than when a filmmaker is smart and brave enough to take the film where it wants to go, listening to its subject matter and allowing its narrative to enter what may be uncomfortable areas... Bing Liu's remarkable film, shot over many years, sets out as a straightforward look at a group of kids that found solace in a skatepark, working on their moves while he smoothly captured them on video...[Minding the Gap] is both visually impressive and emotionally rich, finding a perfect balance between the liberty of the skating sequences and the more profound elements delving into the family tragedies that continue to haunt Liu and his friends."
— Jason Gorber, POV Magazine
“Two of the 2018 fest's best documentaries, Shirkers and Minding the Gap, also contrast youthful exuberance and creativity with the disillusionment of adulthood.”
— Noel Murray, The Week
“A few bold-faced names to watch come out of every Sundance, and here’s a major one: Bing Liu, who directed, co-edited, co-produced, shot, and co-stars in this (often uncomfortably) intimate documentary… Liu has a gift for montage and a confident way with his camera, and the emotional heft of this debut is quietly overwhelming.”
“A touching and poignant portrait of three friends taking different paths through that ‘gap’ period of not quite adulthood but no longer adolescence. For a first feature, Liu shows incredible maturity in storytelling, especially when dealing with issues of domestic abuse.
— Ryland Aldrich, Screen Anarchy
“Minding the Gap is an engaging yet tricky little documentary.” ★★★★
— Jonita Davis, Black Girl Nerds
"[A] stunning debut —an arrestingly intimate documentary about the lifelong scars of domestic abuse...a bafflingly gritty film about domestic violence, race, poverty and general American brokenness that will leave you with a weight in your gut and a lump in your throat... It's a truly impressive feat —the cinematography is astounding, and Liu proves his merit as a modern documentarian with creative choices like using real Rockford billboards as topical title cards for each painfully intimate section."
— Josiah Hughes, Exclaim!
“Minding the Gap looks at the lives of three young men growing up in Rockford, Illinois in an intimate and thought-provoking way that will hit like a punch to the gut.”
— Kaitlyn Booth, Bleeding Cool
“It's one of my favorite documentaries of the festival... I hope everyone can appreciate all that Bing Liu has achieved with Minding the Gap, and cherish it as a worthwhile examination of American youth, highlighting the importance of skateboarding as personal expression, and the endless pursuit of living a good life. There's so many lessons we can learn from such honest storytelling.”
— Alex Billington, First Showing
"Just as skateboarding seems to transcend the sum of its parts, filmmaker Bing Liu has crafted a work of transcendent film."
— Justin Wells, Reel Spirituality
"What starts as a story about skateboarding-as-escape becomes a filmmaker’s coming to grips with his own demons by discovering them in the people he loves. The result is a rare and special achievement."
— Derek Brouwer, missoula News
- Chicago Tribune - A conversation with Bing Liu about his documentary 'Minding the Gap'
- Filmmaker Magazine - Bing Liu on Minding the Gap, Personal Doc Voiceovers and Cycles of Abuse
- KTLA 5 News - 'Minding the Gap' Documentary With Filmmaker Bing Liu
- ITVS Blog - Approaches from Insiders and Outsiders
- Huck Magazine - This DIY filmmaker made the 'Boyhood' of skateboarding
- RadioWest - Through the Lens: Minding the Gap: An interview with Bing Liu
- YOMYOMF - An Interview with Bing Liu, Diane Quon and Keire Johnson
- Right as Rain: Cycles of Violence - An Interview with Bing Liu
- Indiewire - Bing Liu discusses his film "Minding the Gap" at IndieWire's Sundance Studio
- Park City Television - An Interview with Bing Liu
- Sundance Institute - Meet Bing Liu
- First Showing - 'Minding the Gap' Director Bing Liu on Doc Films
- Adobe Creative Cloud - An interview with Bing Liu and editor Joshua Altman
- Salem Film Fest - Filmmaker Spotlight: Bing Liu, Director of Minding the Gap
- Documentary Magazine - The Feedback: Bing Liu's 'Minding the Gap'