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A subtle, affecting, character-driven coming-of-age story, King of the Hill is one of Steven Soderbergh's best and most criminally overlooked films. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Aaron (Jesse Bradford), a young boy living in St. Louis during the 1930s, has a deep attachment to his younger brother. After his father (Jeroen Krabbé) leaves them and his mother (Lisa Eichhorn) departs for an asylum, he promises to retrieve his brother from their uncle's custody. In the meantime, he must fend for himself among townspeople and the tenants in the hotel where he lives. Forced to come of age alone, Aaron shifts between the harsh real world and the dream world he creates to cope.

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Critic Reviews for King of the Hill

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (30) | Rotten (3)

Audience Reviews for King of the Hill

  • Feb 13, 2013
    "When the world turns upside down, the trick is to come out on top." King of the Hill is another under appreciated and under seen Steven Soderbergh film. It features a great performance from its young lead, Jesse Bradford and obviously the direction is as close to flawless as you can get. The story is really engaging and uses its depression era setting to great effect without ever even really mentioning it.  Aaron is a young schoolboy who lives in a hotel room with his mother, father, and younger brother, Sullivan. It's the Great Depression and his father is out of work. In order to make ends meet, they send Sullivan away to his aunts. Soon after that, Aaron's mother is sent back to the sanitarium because of sickness and soon after that Aaron's father leaves for work in Oklahoma. Now it's just Aaron, by himself trying to survive, while the hotel tries to kick him out and a cop tries to bust him whenever he can.  King of the Hill is a special little movie. It's not one that you'd call exciting or extremely original in ways of story, but it's an exceptionally well made, well paced, and well acted film. The situations we see Aaron in aren't overblown for effect. Actually we never even feel too worried for Aaron because he is such an intelligent and good kid.  This is another perfect example as to why I love Soderbergh so much. He doesn't need gimmicks or anything else for that matter to make you care about Aaron and his situation. I see now why a lot of people(who have seen this) classify it as one of their favorites from Soderbergh. I really did love this movie and I plan on watching it many more times in the future.
    Melvin W Super Reviewer
  • May 06, 2012
    "King of the Hill" is endearing, delicate, and a real heart-warmer. Steven Soderbergh has done almost everything right with this one, and despite a a few weak patches in the script, hardly anything feels contrived. It's fabulous entertainment -- involving, heartfelt, well-acted and visually stunning. Seriously, this one was robbed of a Best Cinematography nomination.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Apr 24, 2012
    Steven Soderbergh's third feature film seems to have just gone completely under the radar...and that's a shame. Adapted from A. E. Hotchner's memoirs about growing up in St. Louis during the Great Depression. "Aaron" is a 12 year-old growing up poor (more so than most) in a rundown hotel in a seedy part of St. Louis. He is forced to basically become his own man after his brother is sent to live with relatives, his consumptive mother goes off to a sanitarium, and his father struggles to eke out a living as a salesman, a job that sees him away from home for extended periods of time. Aaron's struggle isn't as bleak as it might seem, but the lessons he learns about life are nevertheless still pretty important. His journey to manhood is helped along by a colorful cast of people, especially the various other residents and workers of the hotel (including early appearances by Adrien Brody and Lauryn Hill). We also get Jeroen Krabbe as the dad, Karen Allen as Aaron's teacher, and, playing Aaron, is Jesse Bradford, and he delivers a standout turn. The film is pretty low-key, and I think that might be both it's strongest point, as it isn't a showy "look at me" type of film, but it may also be the reason it's been all but lost to the masses. If you can find this, then give it a watch, It's a fine, heartwarming movie, and another example of why Soderbergh is such an amazing and versatile director.
    Chris W Super Reviewer
  • Aug 15, 2011
    An amazingly sad and yet uplifting film about perseverance and never giving up, as seen through the eyes of a child.
    Chris B Super Reviewer

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