Review – The Kings of Summer

The Kings of Summer Poster

Premiering to rave reviews at Sundance, The Kings of Summer (formerly Toy’s House) is an indie coming of age dramedy with a unique flavor and memorable characters.

Joe Toy (Nick Robinson) is, as many young adults are, frustrated by his home life.  Having lost his mother, he finds it hard, to say the least, to get along with is dad (Nick Offerman).  After getting temporarily lost in the woods one night, he hits upon a seemingly genius plan.  Declaring himself free from the constraints of the rest of the world, he convinces his best friend Patrick (Gabrel Basso) to leave his slightly psycho parents (Megan Mullally and Marc Evan Jackson) to build a house for themselves in the middle of the forest.  Exceedingly strange kid, Biaggio (Moises Arias who you may have seen on The Middle), joins them, though they are not quite sure why.  With no one to bother them, since no one knows where they are, the three of them are free to do whatever they want.  Of course, that always seems better in theory and their new life is not without challenges and unexpected turns of events.

This movie is a joy to watch.  It’s just serious enough to have some real emotional impact, but also outrageously funny in a mild mannered kind of way.  Arias is the real star here even if his is not the central character.  Every time things start to get to heavy or begin to border on mundane, he says or does something out of the blue that takes you completely aback.  The kids are all very real and their sense of adventure recalls the fantasy most boys have at some time to have an adventure, live off the land, and become men.  Here is that fantasy, played out.

This is a smart, well written movie with a clever sense of humor and sharp characters.  I easily found myself lost in their world, drawn in by the primal joy and wonderful score.  There is something almost hypnotic about this movie, in the best possible way.  It’s obvious this was done on a shoestring budget, yet it doesn’t matter.  Being shiny does not a good film make, and this is a very good film.  Perhaps the best of the year so far.  It’s a shame it is coming to so few theaters – hopefully it generates good word of mouth and expands significantly as the summer goes on.  See it if you can.

My Rating:  Five out of Five Hats

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Mrs. Hamster Says:

“It was cute, funny, and full of crazy boy stuff.  It’s exactly what a movie called Kings of Summer should be.”

Trailer:

The Kings of Summer comes to 4 theaters, May 31