What’s It About? Teenager Joe (Nick Robinson) is sick of living his life under the rule of his controlling father Frank (Nick Offerman). One day Joe and his best friend Patrick (Gabriel Basso), who also has family issues, decide to leave home, build a house in the woods and live off the land. With oddball newcomer Biaggio (Moises Arias) along for the experience as well, the trio start their new lives yet soon find independence comes with far more issues than they anticipated.
Verdict: Even from the first strains of The Kings Of Summer, it’s obvious we’re in nostalgia territory, with the film aiming for all your abiding memories of childhood friends long since forgotten. It’s not a showy film, instead it relies on proper storytelling we can all appreciate and does this masterfully. The story just floods over you and you’re unable to resist its charms.
There is also some of the most striking cinematography of a wooded area, the green is incredibly vibrant and the dusty floor sparkles with lens-flared sun beams. Not only does it look great but the acting is some of the best we have seen in many years from a bunch of teenagers. Each one of them plays a pivotal role in how the story develops, and whilst we are following Joe as the main protagonist, it’s nice to see each character receive enough screen time to fully flesh out his role. Patrick’s mother-hen routine is purposeful and Joe has a maverick streak, yet its Biaggio’s strangeness that wins the day. The In-Betweeners may have taken the teenage school boy story to belly-laughing comedic levels, but it’s The Kings Of Summer that truly shows how it feels to be a boy growing up through the teenage years.
Extras: A 20-minute Making Of that just about touches enough bases to make it interesting to see what went into making the film.
Final Words: The Kings Of Summer is a beautifully melancholic trip that tugs at the heart strings throughout. Nostalgia has never been this sweet or quirky. It’s a film for all seasons and people of all ages. An essential watch.
The Kings Of Summer is available on Blu-ray & DVD now.