The Kings of Summer (2013)

Oh, to be young and rebel.

This was Jordan Vogt-Roberts directorial debut, and right off the bat his sense of dry humor is ingrained in the film. To hit the right notes, you have Nick Offerman and Alison Brie, along with a couple of other supporting cast who just manage to complement the punchlines. On the other hand, you have the coming of age narrative that is molded dramatically. As such, there are basically two arcs which take place in this film and they complete each other.

The film kicks off with Joe and Patrick being fed up with their parents. Joe's dad (Offerman) is a strict paternal figure who tries to install discipline as a single father. Patrick's parents on the other hand, are portrayed as a socially awkward couple who are unable to connect with their son. The tipping point comes after a party goes awry and sends everyone scuttling off. That's when Joe discovers a quaint little clearing in the woods, with the promise of a utopia.

The Kings of Summer is still a coming of age film through and through, and it goes through the usual phases. However there's that other arc that comes into play, which is when their family start to question themselves. Now despite this also being a staple of coming of age films, I feel that in this, there's more thought given to that. As such, the moment of reconcilliation doesn't just feel like something given cheaply just to wrap up the film. There's also no excessive moments of drama that often comes with coming of age films, because it's still also a comedy.

For a brief period in their lives, the boys had created a utopia of their own, revelling in the fantasy of it. Like a summer that comes and goes, each season has to pass. I appreciate that the romance arc didn't take centerstage because it would have spun the film downwards, but as always closing off with humor works. That's the advantage Kings of Summer has.


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