Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 15
  • Comedy, Drama
  • 2013
  • 95 mins

The Kings Of Summer

Film4

Synopsis

Three teenagers seek freedom from their mundane suburban lives by fleeing their families, building a makeshift house in the woods and fending for themselves.

About

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faces and comic relief, they’re what’s pushing the kids away: Offerman plays ringleader Joe Toy’s (Nick Robinson) withdrawn, closed-off single father, while Mullally’s overbearing mother reminds her son Patrick (Gabriel Busso) of Street Fighter II’s burly green brawler Blanka.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.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally
  • Producer: Peter Saraf

In a nutshell

Rich in suburban subtext, The Kings Of Summer is a coming-of-age indie movie full of poignancy, charm and strong performances.

by Michael Leader

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    Belle

    Gugu Mbatha-Raw stars in director Amma Asante's period drama, which is based on the true story of Georgian Britain's first mixed-race aristocrat, Dido Belle.

    On Film4: 23 Jan 9:00PM

  • Film4

    The Battle At Apache Pass

    Action-packed western set in the epic landscape of Utah.

    On Film4: 24 Jan 2:50PM

  • Film4

    Belle on Film4

    Gugu Mbatha-Raw stars in Amma Asante's Belle, playing for the first time on Film4.

  • Film4

    Stonehearst Asylum on Film4

    Kate Beckinsale leads an all-star cast in the network premiere of Stonehearst Asylum.

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Tweets @Film4

  • RT @Film4: On Saturday 21st, we're screening Brian De Palma's Hitchcockian thriller Dressed To Kill... https://t.co/POjXIKv4PZ

  • "The games are always, repeat always, being played. But nobody plays the games like me." Up next at 11.35pm, Filth. https://t.co/scUoWCpf6J

  • Coming up at 11.35pm, James McAvoy is a corrupt copper in @jonsbaird's @IrvineWelsh adaptation Filth. https://t.co/sD8e4ooOw5

  • On Saturday 21st, we're screening Brian De Palma's Hitchcockian thriller Dressed To Kill... https://t.co/POjXIKv4PZ

  • RT @Film4: Happy birthday to Mark Rylance! Here's Steven Spielberg & Tom Hanks geeking out about working with him on Bridge Of Spies. 🎂 htt…

Share