King of the Hill - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

King of the Hill Reviews

Page 1 of 7
August 14, 2016
A true masterpiece - outstanding, an absolute favorite that seems to have all but disappeared for those of us who'd love to see it again! Well crafted with its gut-wrenching and uplifting moments with a remarkable ensemble of fascinating, very real characters, many of whom seem worthy of their own movie around their own situation. Desperate circumstances put young Aaron in a survival mode in the bleak depression yet this film is anything but depressing. Often harsh and intense, yet full of entertaining moments and Aaron's unsinkable spirit carrying him through it all.
July 15, 2016
Really good ... I like it
½ January 8, 2016
The story of Aaron, the coolest kid on the block, and his struggling family during the depression in the 1930's.

Aron is doing well in school, even with few money. His parents are not earning much and are often not around trying to get money from places further away. He tries to get hold of some money himself with varied results. Still, his biggest feature is that he is super kind and everyone likes him. He is the coolest and best kid on the block.

Both Bradford and Brody are rock solid and is lofting the superb story. It looks good and got few flat moments - some uplifting ones, some sadder ones, but no flat moments. This is feel good to the fullest. Soderbergh shows a lot of heart here, in one of his earlier and slightly overlooked film.

Oh, also way cool to see Lauren Hill as an elevator girl.

7.5 out of 10 cigar bands.
January 2, 2016
One of my all time favorites !
Super Reviewer
December 8, 2015
An amazingly sad and yet uplifting film about perseverance and never giving up, as seen through the eyes of a child.
½ September 24, 2015
One of my favorite movies. Bradford is a brilliant actor, even then.
November 30, 2014
A good depression era coming-of-age story from early in Soderbergh's career. I was impressed with Jesse Bradford's performance and the style of the film. Great production design.
½ October 22, 2014
Jamais acanhado de agradar a um grande público, Steven Soderbergh tem em "King of the Hill" o seu filme mais capaz de encaixar numa reconfortante matiné de domingo para toda a família. Esta história de um miúdo obrigado a virar-se por si, numa época (primeira metade dos anos 30) de acentuada crise económica, provoca uma boa dose de angústia, mas nada que supere, por exemplo, a violência emocional d' "O Rei Leão" (que curiosamente estreia apenas um ano depois e inclui o mesmo "king no título").
½ August 3, 2014
Review In A Nutshell:

When it comes to coming of age films, they are generally a hit and miss for me as I don't particularly have a particular type of film within the genre; all I look for is an entertaining story for me to invest in. The coming of age genre, over time has developed its own clichés that many films can't seem to shake out of, which is why when I come into a film from the genre, I ensure to lower my expectations and hopefully the film would deliver enough original aspects that it wouldn't end up being a waste of time.

The film's plot is certainly light in its tone but heavy in its themes. Steven Soderbergh, the film's screenwriter and director, has delivered a tale of a young boy who lives in a cruel world and has to do what he can in order to survive. I was on board with his journey right from the start as the film establishes the connection with the character right from the start, using the film's small but abundant complications to threat our protagonist at a deep level. There are a number of scenes in this film that feels heartbreaking to watch, the graduation would be a prime example, and the fact that Soderbergh was able to deliver more than just one, shows me how gifted of a writer he is. The film's final act may come off at first as sentimental and forced, but with everything that the audience and the protagonist has gone through, one can't help but look for something warm to hold onto.

There were elements in this film that reminded me of Wes Anderson's Rushmore, as Aaron, our protagonist, has this need to create a false persona to avoid social hardships and to be standing and recognised on the same level as his wealthy classmates. Unlike Max Fischer in Rushmore, Aaron's rationales for his facade carry a much heavier weight, which made it easier for me to empathise for his decisions and sympathise for his feelings.

The film could have simply been a conventionally told story and dampened by its sentimentality, but Soderbergh handles it with such balance and precision that the film contains only the right amount of both conventionality and sentimentality. I was truly impressed with the director's choice to go slightly pessimistic in both its emotions and atmosphere during the early stages of the third act, as it made our protagonist feel like a human being rather than just hollow plot driver, also this change of tone showed me that Soderbergh is willing to take risks and show suffering in a pragmatic way.

I am going to make an assumption and state that this film was built by a limited budget, which made it difficult to create a richly detailed environment of the Depression era. Soderbergh was able to counter this through focusing its film on the protagonist and limiting his movement from different locations, but the aspect that truly drawn me into the film's world is its warm-palette photography. The photography not only immersed me physically, but it also hit me at an emotional and empathetic level, where I too can feel the heat that is surrounding Aaron, getting closer and hotter as the film progresses.

The performance brought by Jesse Bradford certainly deserves high recognition, as he was able to display both the innocence and vulnerability of a child while also showing that he is strong-willed boy who would go through great lengths for survival. The film's supporting cast was also strong with memorable performances by Adrien Brody, Spalding Gray, Lisa Eichhorn, and Jeroen Krabbe.

King of the Hill is a special coming of age films that isn't afraid to go towards the darker side of the spectrum to deliver realistic conditions of the 1930s, while also retaining that child-like sensibility that allows the film to be universally accessible. So far this is the most impressive feat I have seen from film-retired director, Steven Soderbergh.
½ August 1, 2014
Review In A Nutshell:

When it comes to coming of age films, they are generally a hit and miss for me as I don't particularly have a particular type of film within the genre; all I look for is an entertaining story for me to invest in. The coming of age genre, over time has developed its own clichés that many films can't seem to shake out of, which is why when I come into a film from the genre, I ensure to lower my expectations and hopefully the film would deliver enough original aspects that it wouldn't end up being a waste of time.

The film's plot is certainly light in its tone but heavy in its themes. Steven Soderbergh, the film's screenwriter and director, has delivered a tale of a young boy who lives in a cruel world and has to do what he can in order to survive. I was on board with his journey right from the start as the film establishes the connection with the character right from the start, using the film's small but abundant complications to threat our protagonist at a deep level. There are a number of scenes in this film that feels heartbreaking to watch, the graduation would be a prime example, and the fact that Soderbergh was able to deliver more than just one, shows me how gifted of a writer he is. The film's final act may come off at first as sentimental and forced, but with everything that the audience and the protagonist has gone through, one can't help but look for something warm to hold onto.

There were elements in this film that reminded me of Wes Anderson's Rushmore, as Aaron, our protagonist, has this need to create a false persona to avoid social hardships and to be standing and recognised on the same level as his wealthy classmates. Unlike Max Fischer in Rushmore, Aaron's rationales for his facade carry a much heavier weight, which made it easier for me to empathise for his decisions and sympathise for his feelings.

The film could have simply been a conventionally told story and dampened by its sentimentality, but Soderbergh handles it with such balance and precision that the film contains only the right amount of both conventionality and sentimentality. I was truly impressed with the director's choice to go slightly pessimistic in both its emotions and atmosphere during the early stages of the third act, as it made our protagonist feel like a human being rather than just hollow plot driver, also this change of tone showed me that Soderbergh is willing to take risks and show suffering in a pragmatic way.

I am going to make an assumption and state that this film was built by a limited budget, which made it difficult to create a richly detailed environment of the Depression era. Soderbergh was able to counter this through focusing its film on the protagonist and limiting his movement from different locations, but the aspect that truly drawn me into the film's world is its warm-palette photography. The photography not only immersed me physically, but it also hit me at an emotional and empathetic level, where I too can feel the heat that is surrounding Aaron, getting closer and hotter as the film progresses.

The performance brought by Jesse Bradford certainly deserves high recognition, as he was able to display both the innocence and vulnerability of a child while also showing that he is strong-willed boy who would go through great lengths for survival. The film's supporting cast was also strong with memorable performances by Adrien Brody, Spalding Gray, Lisa Eichhorn, and Jeroen Krabbe.

King of the Hill is a special coming of age films that isn't afraid to go towards the darker side of the spectrum to deliver realistic conditions of the 1930s, while also retaining that child-like sensibility that allows the film to be universally accessible. So far this is the most impressive feat I have seen from film-retired director, Steven Soderbergh.
July 28, 2014
Extraordinary attention to detail.
½ July 26, 2014
Mildly charming coming-of-age period piece. Nothing special, but worth a watch. Possibly the best performance I've seen from Brody.
May 24, 2014
My Favorite Film Is 1941's Citizen Kane.
April 14, 2014
King of the Hill, like Stand By Me before it, exemplifies cinema's equivalent to the Bildungsroman. Soderbergh is now known for his excellent and diverse drama/thrillers which exhibit his unique approach to film-making, however this movie was an early proclamation of his talent and versatility.
½ March 28, 2014
The Criterion blu-ray edition of this film has just been released, and it is a treat--mostly for including a 2013 interview with the still-living author of the original memoir, A.E. Hotchner. He is the pubescent eighth grader in the film. Soderbergh is also on the disc, going a little hard on himself (as usual), but he is correct in stating that the film looks to good for the bleak period it portrays. (Such a hotel as where this unfortunately family lived would have been much grimier.) This would be a great film to show kids the same age, to give them a better idea the economic hardship which they have a hard time imagining just from their history classes. Few saw it when it came out; now is their chance to discover this gem, which holds up wonderfully after twenty years, despite what its director thinks.
½ January 19, 2014
Everything was great! The acting (especially the main character), the cinematography, and the costumes and settings were amazing. I just didn't like the ending that much.
December 15, 2013
well crafted and engaging this was the first movie i saw of director soderbergh and just loved it
½ July 28, 2013
well done but boring
July 14, 2013
Carefully filled out with small, polished character performances, Soderbergh's film is a lyrical piece of well-crafted passion.
cosmo313
Super Reviewer
½ July 11, 2013
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.
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