I found this film to be very under the radar in terms of promotion in the UK. Only due to tweets I found out about Kings Of Summer, and when I found it to appear on LoveFilm, I was very pleased. 95 minutes later, I was still feeling very pleased about being able to watch this.
The film opens up on a trio of boys banging sticks on a pipe with one of them dancing on the pipe at the same time, we then see Joe (Nick Robinson) a month earlier being yelled at by his father for being in the shower for 55 minutes. This is whilst he is day dreaming about an unknown girl. The hatred between the two is immediately clear. This is at the time when the young adult is on the verge of breaking up for his summer vacation, when he bumps into this unknown girl from before, that goes by the name of Kelly (Erin Moriarty) and she subsequently invites him to a party that night.
As the film continues the formalities, next introduced is Patrick (Gabriel Basso) who is currently stuck in his house due to a broken ankle or similar injury. It is clear Patrick holds the same disdain for his parents as Joe holds for his father, which is further shown when game night is happening and Patrick is having dinner with his parents. Joe eventually does go to the party with Patrick (regardless of his foot condition) whereby an old man breaks up the party firing a gun. This is also when we meet Biaggio (Moises Arias), a rather odd boy who you grow accustomed to.
They enter a clearing where Joe feels a connection with the land. Due to a conversation that goes sour Joe takes Patrick into the clearing and suggests the idea of building a house. Patrick, at first hates the idea but then grows accustomed to it after his parents continue to annoy him. From this point onwards, the bulk of the film takes place as the trio begin construction of this house in the forest.As the rest of the film unfolds, we see happier forms of Joe and Patrick without the rule of their parents. Biaggio, of course being there to provide the comedy within the film with his actions and comments, but largely is a brilliant character.
“You’re right, it’s a classic kidnapping. They took our children and the canned goods and pasta.”
After the trio disappear, their parents become worried about the fact they have ran away and they continually show their efforts to track them, such as finding their cellphones and Frank having an argument with a takeaway man. Joe after missing a woman’s touch invites Kelly to the site of the house. This proves fatal as the boys argue and Kelly takes a liking to Patrick this comes between the boys and eventually causes Joe to cast everyone out. Ironically, this occurs during a game of monopoly, which pretty much shadows the family game night earlier in the film.
Ultimately, this is a brilliant coming-of-age film perfect for nostalgic boys. as I personally found the personal elements in there. But constructed with some beautiful shots of the summer months and the comedic value of Frank’s relationships with his family members and his sarcasm toward other people. It’s all nicely fitted into the 95 minute run time and doesn’t seem too extravagant which makes it a very enjoyable, easy watch.
This film largely is enjoyable due to the nostalgia factor, as it’s always crept into conversation of living off the land and building a house in the middle of the woods. But not only this, the long hot summer days of idling about with friends smashing sticks around trees and all the things that have happened to them too. In terms of the coming-of-age film, it’s great, but not the best. The initial story does wear thin with the parents, especially Frank. But the ending, the ending I liked, it’s true to what would happen amongst friends as young as they are.