The Kings of Summer

Joe Toy, on the verge of adolescence, finds himself increasingly frustrated by his single father, Frank's attempts to manage his life. Declaring his freedom once and for all, he escapes to a clearing in the woods with his best friend, Patrick, and a strange kid named Biaggio. He announces that they are going to build a house there, free from responsibility and parents. Once their makeshift abode is finished, the three young men find themselves masters of their own destiny, alone in the woods.


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  • ★★★★ review by adrianbalboa on Letterboxd

    “im gay”

    “are you sure?”

    “yeah. my lungs fill up with fluids every time the seasons change”

    “...that’s not being gay im pretty sure that’s cystic fibrosis”

    i love three (3) boys

  • ★★★½ review by Mary Conti on Letterboxd

    Features the most accurate depiction of a game of Monopoly.

  • ★★★★½ review by Katie on Letterboxd

    i was sweating from the undeniable sexual tension between joe and patrick.

  • ★★★★ review by DirkH on Letterboxd

    This year has given me two absolutely wonderful viewing experiences, both centred around a classic coming of age tale. Mud took the serious route and The Kings of Summer the emphatic and comedic one. Different films with at their centre a similar heart. And I love them both equally.

    The most impressive thing about The Kings of Summer is that it manages to capture the magic and problems of childhood in such a way that it never feels like it's manipulating you with cheap sentiment. It is an honest film, that finds its drama in small moments and its humour in playful absurdity and witty dialogue.

    The story is the perfect for exploring the central themes of friendship, family and growing up. The three boys who decide to build their own house in the middle of the woods all have their reasons do so. As an adult I can look at them and see their youthful folly, but I also clearly remember, probably not unlike you who are reading this, that at some point during my puberty I was ready to pack my bags and leave for whatever reason. It is that universal sentiment and fantasy that gets played out here and that is, for me, where most of its appeal comes from. We also get to see the other side of the coin, the parents. What works so well is the way the script is structured. Both sides stay lighthearted in the beginning, but they slowly both veer into more serious waters making how the story unfolds a really engaging experience. It's not that the script doesn't have its problems as it relies on contrivance one time too many, but those are minor quibbles as the overall quality is excellent.

    I have to single out the dialogue. The conversations these kids have feel genuine, Biaggio's bizarre utterings are hilarious, Patrick's parent are freakishly scary in how they interact, but the absolute best lines belong to Nick Offerman who plays Joe's dad. His dead pan delivery is simply sublime.

    I love the fact that films with themes like this keep getting made. They appeal to my nostalgic self, allowing me a view through a window to a romanticized childhood that could have been mine. The Kings of Summer is magical realism at its most literal in that it captures the ethereal qualities of nostalgia and combines it with real problems without sentimentality. The fact that it does this so well is an admirable achievement.

  • ★★★½ review by victoria 🌙 on Letterboxd

    i wanted to shave nick robinson's mustache so bad

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