The Kings of Summer Reviews
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.
"The Kings of Summer" is a coming of age story that follows three friends, whom on their own free will, decide to build a house in the middle of the woods to use as an escape from their hectic lives. Through this crazy idea, friendships will be solidified and relationships will be tested, but it's a feel good movie that will make you smile throughout.
A small budget, limited release film released in 2013, "The Kings of Summer" is one of the best coming of age stories of the year. I want to say that the thing I love the most is the simplicity of the movie. It knows exactly what it is, and yet it doesn't over exaggerate it's premise. I really do love the premise of the film, and it executes in an efficient manner, leaving little to be desired by the time the credits rolled. It's a fulfilling movie, as puzzling as its story is, but manages to make you leave the theater smiling.
The actors make the movie feel fun, even if the supporting cast is overly cartoony at times. The main trio here is gold, as Nick Robinson does a good job leading the film. Gabriel Basso and Moises Arias are great supporting actors, and Nick Offerman fills in the parent role very nicely. My favorite one is definitely Moises Arias, who was one of the standouts. Although his character isn't the most original character ever created, he manages to blend the tone of comedy within the movie and provide plenty of comedic moments. Some of the other supporting characters were often made out to be overly cartoonish, which means they were often over exaggerated within their roles and felt a little too fake. I understand that it had to fit in with the tone of the film, but it often made things a bit awkward.
The pacing was also suitable, as the movie manages to keep its run time short. At around an hour and 30 minutes, this film moves along nicely, and doesn't waste to much time on unnecessary plot points and moments. It puts forth an effort to keep the story moving along, even at the expense of clearing up some misconception in certain moments. For the most part, I was fine with that, as it often let you decipher the deeper meaning for yourself.
The movie also did a great job with its camerawork and the directing. They constantly used nature as their background, and never resorted to awkward shots. The movie looked great and the director knew the exact tone of the film. The budget was utilized to the max, and it's often a common attribute in intelligent, small productions.
The movie also had a great amount of comedy that had me chuckling. None of the comedy relied on toilet humor, and even when the jokes seemingly got out of hand, they addressed the situation and made sure they knew what kind of jokes they were writing. They were able to maintain the situation, and were able to make you laugh along with them. There were plenty of moments I will remember in this movie, and I can say I had some solid laughs throughout.
In the end, "The Kings of Summer" will have you smiling and laughing, while providing some thoughtful writing and a great direction. I actually loved watching this movie, and it's probably one of the most underrated indie films of 2013. I highly recommend this to anyone, especially those who just need to smile a little bit, or a lot.