For many summer means freedom: freedom from school, jobs, clothes and responsibilities. But summer also means change; the seasons slip from one into the next and nothing stays the same.
Joe (Nick Robinson) longs for his freedom so he decides to leave home and build his own house in the middle of the woods. Not wanting to begin the adventure on his own he asks his best friend Patrick (Gabriel Basso) to join him. Strange ‘tag-a-long’ Biaggio (Moises Arias) shows up to complete the group and adds a touch of the bizarre into the mix.
Although it is unclear why Biaggio moves out into the woods, and he never seems to be missed by his family, for Joe and Patrick it rebellion against their parents and their rules. While Joe’s widowed dad Frank (Nick Offerman) is unbearably gruff and sarcastic, Patrick’s parents (Megan Mullally and Marc Evan Jackson) are over-the-top friendly and invasive.
And then of course there is love. Joe dreams of ‘the girl next door” Kelly (Erin Moriarty) and fantasises about her falling in love with him. However nothing comes as planned, hearts are broken, friendships tested and even lives nearly lost.
The Kings of Summer is a coming-of-age story, a tale of boys longing to be men and being able to make their own decisions. It is a simple story that lives from Offerman’s deadpan deliveries, Arias quirky otherness and the strong performances of Basso and Robinson.
Both writer Chris Galletta and director Jordan Vogt-Roberts are new to the big screen but they manage to treat the story with a lot of tenderness, simplicity and beautiful images.
The Kings of Summer is a beautifully told, stunningly filmed and well worth a ticket. It is a story filled with humour, melancholy and true friendship, a tale with something for everyone, even first love.