The Kings of Summer


Why do coming of age stories tend to resonate for so many of us? I can’t tell if it is a sense of nostalgia (accurately remembered or not) or that change and evolution are a constant in life and the type of story is simply analogy. Either way, when done well, they are very effective. This isn’t my recent favorite of the genre (that is still Perks of Being a Wallflower for now), but it is a solidly told tale.

Kings is a very real-feeling and engaging story, with a bit of broad humor. Director Vogt-Roberts and writer, Galleta, are best known for their work on television, but it is clear they can sustain a story on the big screen. As they balance their inclinations a little more, I think they can produce truly wonderful films because they clearly have heart.

In truth, the success of the film is as much for the cast as the story. Robinson, as the lead, has a long career ahead of him if this is any sample of his ability. He has a great charisma and vulnerability. His friends Basso (Super 8) and Arias (Ender’s Game) round out the main focus of the film nicely, forming an unlikely, but believable trio. Brie (Community) and Offerman (Parks and Recreation) complete the family well. The rest of the cast is a tad broad in humor for my taste, but not necessarily wrong for the need.

What feels like a bit of an art film at the start becomes a very believable tale that most people can connect with. Growing up and not becoming your parents is one of the hardest things we do in life (or don’t). Recognizing what is important and changing is even harder. This story reminds you it is possible, and probably able to be done without all the drama… but if that’s what it takes, so be it.

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