My Review: The Kings Of Summer

Photo: Chris White

What did you do to get away from your pesky parents? Did you go out into the woods with your buddies and build a house? That’s what some teenagers decide to do in this coming-of-age comedy that was well-received at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

What To Know

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Writer: Chris Galletta
Stars: Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso and Moises Arias
Rating: R for language and some teen drinking. Parents Guide
Plot: Meet Joe (Nick Robinson) and Patrick (Gabriel Basso), two friends whose parents are driving them to their boiling points. After the recent death of his mother, Joe’s relationship with his father (Nick Offerman) is strained at best. It doesn’t help that Joe’s father is getting serious with a new lady Joe doesn’t approve of, equating her to a “spider woman from the gutter.”

Patrick’s relationship with his parents (played by the always funny Megan Mullally and Marc Evan Jackson) is not quite as bad. The only problem is his parents are protective of him – a little too protective. His mom won’t even let him walk around the house without wearing socks.

Fed up and wanting a change, Joe decides to build a house in the woods to get away from the hell that is living with his father. After giving it some thought Patrick joins him. Also joining them is a strange guy named Biaggio (played, brilliantly, by Moises Arias) who walked home with Joe from a party. He ends up being arguably the most likable character in the film.

While in the woods, the teens learn everything about the great outdoors. But, most of all, they come away from their experience learning a lot more about themselves and their families. In turn the parents learn a lot about themselves as well.

Family Friendly? No. Overall, it did have some positive messages but there’s quite a bit of language – of course since it’s rated R – plus scenes of teen smoking/drinking and a frightening scene as well.
Should You See It? YES! This is, without a doubt, the best movie I’ve seen all year! It has everything you could ask for in a film: a great story, some drama, love and a little laugh. Vogt-Roberts does such an amazing job combining the quirky, comedic aspects with the dramatic aspects of the film.

Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso and Moises Arias were amazing. I already knew about Gabriel from seeing him in Super 8 and Moises from Disney Channel shows. All three actors had breakout performances including Arias who had the best performance of his budding career.

The film elements all come together to present a clear message to its audience: teens don’t just want to be independent of their sometimes pesky parents. They want to find meaning and purpose in their lives. The Kings of Summer is a true gem of this year’s film lineup but will, unfortunately, be overshadowed by those big budget cash cows. If you can, you should definitely go see it!

I Give It An: A+

Check Out The Trailer Here

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