Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde star in this romantic drama directed by Shana Feste.
Three teenagers seek freedom from their mundane suburban lives by fleeing their families, building a makeshift house in the woods and fending for themselves.
At first glance, The Kings Of Summer looks like your typical Sundance flick: a nostalgic portrait of suburban childhood, propped up by a host of television stars let off the hook in supporting roles. However, director Jordan Vogt-Roberts and writer Chris Galletta’s long list of influences – which includes Millions, Son Of Rambow and Stand By Me – reveals greater ambitions.
Like those touchstones, The Kings Of Summer both captures the adventurous spirit of youth and treats its characters’ problems seriously, which is done with great heart in this story of troubled teens who run away from home and build a house in a secluded clearing in a local forest. Sure, there are delightful turns from the likes of Parks And Recreation’s Nick Offerman and Will & Grace’s Megan Mullally as the boys’ parents, but they serve as more than just familiar faces and comic relief, they’re what’s pushing the kids away: Offerman plays ringleader Joe Toy’s (Nick Robinson) withdrawn, closed-off single father, while Mullally’s overbearing mother reminds her son Patrick (Gabriel Busso) of Street Fighter II’s burly green brawler Blanka.
Playing at times like the best bits of JJ Abrams’ Super 8 (which also starred Busso), The Kings Of Summer sees its teenage characters clinging onto the unbridled innocence of youth, while yearning for the maturity and freedom of adulthood. By simultaneously representing both their unattainable ideal of a Jack London-type frontiersman existence and their desire for a place of their own, the house they build (Toy’s House, as the film’s original title calls it) is a melting pot of masculine themes – and The Kings Of Summer plays these out with both humour and warmth.
Rich in suburban subtext, The Kings Of Summer is a coming-of-age indie movie full of poignancy, charm and strong performances.
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@Film4 RT @Trev_Campbell: Demand to be thrilled? You MUST watch the mesmerising Blue Ruin by @saulnier_jeremy @Film4 at 10.50pm https://t.co/FSdRW…
@Film4 Lions and tigers and Matt Damon, oh my! We Bought A Zoo is up next at 6.35pm https://t.co/DHrjdwyxO3
@Film4 “I hate you! I love you! I’ll never marry anyone else!” Janet Leigh and Robert Wagner star in Prince Valiant at 4.2… https://t.co/MYDuPm24tj
@Film4 Jack Lemmon is on rip-roaring form in WWII comedy The Wackiest Ship In The Army, up next at 2.20pm. https://t.co/bam30Ne9so
@Film4 Lunchtime read: before our first play of Blue Ruin tonight at 10.50pm, read our Q&A with director Jeremy Saulnier… https://t.co/84iiHeBdgI