The Kings of Summer – 3.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

The Kings of SummerThe Kings of Summer – 3.5/5 – This is a review for a Blu-Ray Released film I picked up not too long ago.  This film came out during the summer, but I never got a chance to watch it.  It is the kind of film that appeals to things I enjoy a lot; simple story, strong characters, and a ‘coming of age’ theme.  This film does well in appealing to those particular points.  Even if the film has that raw appeal, even within the films levity, it still lacks some strong substance.  Even with the strain of linearity, The Kings of Summer is an enjoyable film to Watch.

Premise: Three teenage friends have had it with the life of order with their parents.  In the ultimate act of freedom, they decide to spend their summer in the woods, building a house and living off the land.  Through this act of individualism, they will learn about themselves, and what

When it comes to a ‘coming of age’ style film, it usually has a focus on teenagers.  This film is no exception.  In the lead roles of the teenagers Joe, Patrick and Biaggio, you have Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso and Moises Arias respectfully.  These three young actors do a marvelous job in portraying true grit, arrogance, innocence and intrigue that encapsulate the form of any real life teenager.  In this creation by these up and coming actors, you see they are left to believe in their own illogical dreams, but in that dream, they have that purpose of finding their selves.  This grand scope of ‘endless possibilities’ helps create a distinct aura, infusing charm and wit that gives us characters that are worth becoming emotionally attached too.  Through the young actors’ realistic dialogue and their interactions with parents, you feel truth in their normalcy.  This helps keep the film watchable, from beginning to end.   Opposite the teenagers you have the parents.   You have Frank, the parent of Joe (Nick Offerman) and Mr. and Mrs. Keenan, the parents of Patrick (Marc Evan Jackson and Megan Mullally).  These individuals help add to the charm and wittiness of the film and dialogue.  The other addition they add to the film is a comedic flavor that is unique and welcoming.  The even keel in the comedy they give helps provide a great contrasting element to the teenagers.  That contrast gives them guile, and helps develop that true ‘family’ appeal that is somewhat stylistic, but humbling.  This kind of attachment helps the film stands out from being just another generic ‘coming of age’ story, even if it is simple in its storytelling.  Outside of these characters, the supporting roles are important, just to a lesser extent.  You have the other teenagers, some other bystanders as well as the cops.  They help provide additional elements to the film, but don’t do much more as ‘characters’ but more as ‘story props’.

When it comes to the direction of the story, it is very straight forward.  There isn’t any glitz or ‘out of norm’ realities created in this film.  Even with the film being standard and linear, the simple reality that is created is still enjoyable and watchable.  This is because (as mentioned above) the characters help ground the film to the simple tone, creating a parallel that reflects life and growth.  In the beginning, we are provided the basic setup for this ‘coming of age’ tale; the teenagers Joe and Patrick are fed up with the rules and peculiar personalities of their parents.  Because of this, they decide to live free of these rules, join their friend Biaggio and live out in the woods.  Here, as we get the introduction of the main theme of ‘coming of age’, there is an addition theme of contrast.  In this contrast, you have the introduction of the ‘rebel vs. order’ situation.  This is created with the schism between the teenagers and the parents.  This added theme is created well through both the characters interactions and the simple storytelling.  Once the film gets through the introduction, the film moves at a very fast pace, showing how the teenagers are adapting to living on their own, as well as the parents trying cope with the runaways and what might have driven them away from their home life.  Through this, you have a collage of both whimsical situations and sarcastic banter.  With these reoccurring elements, the tone stays at a simmer; letting the actions, scenes and dialogue create the world of this film.  As mentioned a few times already, through the simplistic layering, the grounded feeling, and realistic perspective, you are drawn into believing the situation, as well as become attach to the characters.  Even with a lack of overall substance, emotional overtones grow subtly, as you’ll be tugged in one direction or another.  As the film progresses, the lack of depth becomes evident, as you see the film progress through convenient circumstance, one after another.  This is done until the film hits its third act.  Here, we get to see the main characters start to grow through the ‘coming of age’ aura, as the films strings through the common thread of:

Revelation > climax > epilogue > ‘heart-warming’ conclusion

In this, each of the characters is able to find truth in their consequences.  This then leads to a predictable climax, as well as a lukewarm, but satisfying end.

The visuals of the film are kept grounded just like the characters and story progression.  This provides additional help to create that feeling of realism.  You believe that the forest and towns are a reflection of your own place you live, creating that humanistic feel.  The score of the film is a reflection of modern society.  The score feels like the eclipsing chain that brings it all together.  In this, it helps create moment that is dire, poignant and emotionally uplifting.

Overall, The Kings of Summer is a great coming of age story.  It may have a lack of substance at parts, but the general realism the film gives the audience is worth the watch.  I’d say this a definite buy, and a great addition to your movie collection.

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