The Kings of Summer Review
I think there is that one summer we all have that is better than all the others, another summer never surpasses the feeling of freedom this one summer has. Its the first summer you feel the sting of love, its the first summer where you feel you can do whatever; even if that means trouble. This one special season happens to us at different times, at different ages, during different walks of life. I personally feel like I had a summer like this many years ago, and I don't think I'll ever get that feeling of exhilaration again. But that's okay, it was needed for that specific time at that specific chapter in my life, and now I am writing a new chapter. "The Kings of Summer" is definitely a movie about that type of summer, even if it a little over-blown.
"The Kings of Summer" tells the story of Joe (Nick Robinson) and his best friend Patrick (Gabriel Basso). We meet both boys on their last day of Freshman high school, and both during a time when they feel their home lives are disappointing. Not saying anything particularly bad happens to them, it just seems Patrick's family is a little too loving while Joe and his divorced dad (Nick Offerman) can't connect on the appropriate father-son level. One night while leaving a party at a park, Joe comes across a beautiful, secluded landscape. He hatches a plan with Patrick and their new friend Biaggio (Moises Arias) to build a house in these woods and live there forever, abandoning all signs of city life. What starts out as a good time for the boys eventually leads to a self-discovering odyssey for the boys.
What made this typical coming-of-age movie matter are the performances. I can't begin to tell you anything about Nick Robinson or Gabriel Basso or Moises Arias. All I can tell you is that these guys were born to be actors. The teenage angst, the humor, being misfits, learning new things, each of these actors portrays these emotions with absolute precision. Robinson and Basso in particular shine because we believe every bit of their friendship on screen. Typically with comedies there is always the offbeat humor person. In this movie, its Biaggio and he is brought to uncanny life by Moises Arias. I have spoken the praises of Nick Offerman and he once again makes a great performance. Another great performance comes from Erin Moriarty as Kelly. A outgoing girl who is liked by both Patrick and Joe, and who eventually comes to visit the boys at their home. She is the genuine but fun girl we all knew back in high school and Moriarty really makes her come alive.
In dramatic comedies, it is tough to reach a healthy balance of humor and drama. However "The Kings of Summer" does not suffer from an unbalance. There are many scenes, particularly involving Biaggio that will make you roll on the floor laughing. However, the film has real heart too. As Nick Offerman's father really begins to miss his son, we feel it as an audience. Its acting I would have never thought Offerman could manage, but it felt very real. Not only do we feel the actor's performances, but the script written by Chris Galletta makes the characters feel real as well.
Oh, and for a dramatic-comedy, it has crazy-good cinematography. The montages of nature? Absolutely beautiful.
So I feel this is an all around good comedy, fueled by great performances. I think this one will stick to the heart of whomever sees it. That just sounds good all around.
FINAL GRADE: A