The Kings of Summer Reviews
It's Good Start For Summer
Nice try though!
It does try to be fun though. It's got a quirky sense of humour which is genuinely refreshing and funny at times. However, it can spill over into outright cartoon moments.
I'm a little disappointed overall but it's okay. Perhaps just a little overrated.
And yet, filmmakers are still finding ways to make the story fresh and engaging, and that certainly rings true with The Kings of Summer. The feature film directing debut of Jordan Vogt-Roberts, the film is infused with an appropriately lush and warm style not only in its visuals, but in its characters as well. This is a (well-meaning) tale of rebellion with characters that probably shouldn't be as likeable as they are, but the young talent behind these characters has a way with making each one memorable. Whether it's the smooth and slick charisma behind Nick Robinson's smile, or the fed-up angst of Gabriel Basso, or even the wacky (and absolutely hilarious) antics of Moíses Arías, these are all characters you can root for, even despite their flaws. Same goes for Nick Offerman as Joe's (Nick Robinson) father, who is initially intimidating in familiar Nick Offerman style, but quickly shows a side of him that is very sympathetic, and very unlike Nick Offerman.
The film does that a lot, in fact. The first half or so of the film is almost straight comedy, with the lighthearted direction and witty writing taking the spotlight, but Vogt-Roberts isn't afraid to take this into more emotional territory. Relationships are strained, characters are emotionally broken, all familiar tropes of the end-of-Act 2-beginning-of-Act 3 point of every coming-of-age story, but these plot points are so effective despite being so familiar. The ending wraps itself up nicely and doesn't take too many risks (although one particular relationship takes a different route that can certainly be appreciated), but by the time the credits roll, you're sure to be impacted in more ways than one.
It's hard to believe that films like these can come from directors with no major past experience. With just one film, Vogt-Roberts has proven that he understands character and relationships, and knows how to focus on them while simultaneously creating a damn good looking film. 2013 was a great year for coming-of-age movies, and The Kings of Summer is certainly one reason why.