Review: The Kings of Summer

Poster for 2013 coming of age dramedy The Kings of Summer

Genre: Comedy/Drama
Certificate: 15
UK Release Date: 23rd August 2013
Runtime: 95 minutes
Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Writer: Chris Galletta
Starring: Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, Moises Arias, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie
Synopsis: Three boys escape their parents and return to nature, building themselves a house in the woods.

 

 

 

There’s a charming story around the release of The Kings of Summer. After an enthusiastic response from critics, the distributors decided to delay the release slightly so as to create some buzz and make a bit of noise about the film. And it’s great that they did, because this coming of age dramedy might well be the best film released this year.

Joe (Nick Robinson) is a teen dealing with the death of his mother and his horrible father (Nick Offerman). With the help of friend Patrick (Gabriel Basso) and the slightly odd tag-along Biaggio (Moises Arias), Joe builds a house out in a secluded area of the nearby woods. Here, whilst their families search for them, the three boys form their own little slice of utopia.

There are many things that make The Kings of Summer a truly remarkable film. Chief among them though, is that it manages to capture something unique. Better than perhaps any film since Stand By Me in the 80s, it is a beautiful representation of that period where the naivety of childhood briefly intermingles with the arrogance of adolescence.

When this beautiful period is combined with the infinite feel of freedom associated with summer, it makes for a truly magical setting for a film. The Kings of Summer is a pitch perfect depiction of that setting, with some utterly jaw-dropping cinematography courtesy of Ross Riege and assured direction from feature debutant Jordan Vogt-Roberts.

The young central cast are also brilliant. Nick Robinson provides the film with its emotional beating heart, conveying faux masculinity and heart-breaking vulnerability with equal aplomb. Disney Channel alum Moises Arias may be the real breakout star here though, with a deadpan turn that is hilarious and unsettling in equal measure.

It’s not the cast, or the witty script, that truly makes The Kings of Summer work. In an industry where even comic book heroes now have to be moody and introspective, this is a slice of pure, life-affirming fun. The comedy really works, the drama lands hard and the third act emotional developments hit the heart like a jackhammer. The Kings of Summer delivers on absolutely every single level.

Feeling like a Wes Anderson adaptation of Lord of the Flies, this is a quirky, amusing, warm drama that deserves to be seen on the big screen. It’s a cliché, but The Kings of Summer truly is the feel good film of the year.

10/10

Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.

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