• James Rutherford

'The Kings of Summer': A Fresh and Exuberant Comedy about Three Friends' Summer of Escapism


Movie poster for the film The Kings of Summer starring Nick Robinson, Nick Offerman, Gabriel Basso and Moisés Arias

The Kings of Summer (2013) is a fresh and comedic coming-of-age story about three teenage friends who resolve to build a house in the woods and live off the land, forsaking their homes and families. Exasperated by his overbearing father Frank (Nick Offerman), Joe (Nick Robinson) recruits his friend Patrick (Gabriel Basso), along with an oddball local teen named Biaggio (Moisés Arias), to abscond from society and build their own rural sanctuary devoid of parental command.


Patrick is similarly fatigued by his parents' relentless oppression and wholeheartedly agrees with Joe's plan, while the eccentric Biaggio is perfectly happy to partake in their shared adventure. Piecing together a makeshift shack in a dense wooded area, the three young men focus their energies on hunting and foraging for sustenance, as they settle into their newfound rustic lifestyle. While the boys' parents panic and alert the authorities of their sons' disappearance, it is Joe who muddles their idealized arrangement when he invites the alluring Kelly (Erin Moriarty) to visit—setting the stage for a crisis of infringement and betrayal.


Directed by burgeoning young filmmaker Jordan Vogt-Roberts (Kong: Skull Island), The Kings of Summer is an imaginative tale of youthful hubris and escapism colored with sharp dialogue and a keen air of playfulness. Vogt-Roberts and screenwriter Chris Galletta have inverted the familiar teenage comedy and crafted an offbeat and stylized depiction of adolescent hijinks, delivering a unique and enjoyable tale of self-discovery. Warm-hearted and refreshingly original, it's an underrated sleeper worthy of newfound discovery.

 

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