King of the Hill (1993)
Critic Consensus: 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.
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as Miss Mathey
as Mrs. Kurlander
as Billy Thompson
as Christina Sebastian
as Ella McShane
as Patrolman Burns
as Mr. Desot
as Mr. Sandoz
as Elevator Operator
as Principal Stellwater
as Front Desk Clerk
as Mrs. McShane
as Mr. Farley
as Jealous Kid
Critic Reviews for King of the Hill
The film does a lovely job of juxtaposing the sharp contrasts in Aaron's life, and in marveling at the fact that he survives as buoyantly as he does.
A remarkable odyssey about a resilient young hero who uses both his imagination and his sense of reality to survive.
With the kind of material you'd never dream of associating with him, Soderbergh has made his best film.
The slow-paced King of the Hill is a feel-good fable in which it's difficult to work up any worry over a boy with clearly unsinkable spirits.
Audience Reviews for King of the Hill
An amazingly sad and yet uplifting film about perseverance and never giving up, as seen through the eyes of a child.
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.
"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.
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