The Kings of Summer

I think I’ve fully recovered from the long and terrifying, yet somehow completely heartwarming, scene with a snake in “The Kings of Summer.”

The trailer features a glimpse of said scene and I figured I could just look away, but it is actually very important to the story. Don’t look away, trust me, don’t look away.

“The Kings of Summer,” isn’t your average coming of age story.

Sure, the film is about three friends who run away from home to build a house in the woods while dealing with family issues, girls and finding their way in the world but I’ve really never seen anything like it.

The filmmakers’ (director Jordan Vogt-Roberts and writer Chris Galletta, among others) use of imagery and unique cinematography alone sets the film apart from the pack.

Then the performances by Hollywood newcomers Nick Robinson (Joe), Gabriel Basso (Patrick), and Moises Arias (Biaggio) just left me in awe of this piece of art.

I realize I am stumbling through some cliché terms to describe this film, but I am kind of at a loss of how to summarize my admiration for it.

As for the style of the film, including the visuals and dialogue, it took some time to get into, but in the end it just works.

Beneath the surface of Joe and Patrick, with Biaggio tagging along, setting out on their own because they are not happy with their family life, the story focuses on father-son relationships, the bond of friendship as well as coming to know yourself.

One of my favorite scenes is actually between Joe and Patrick’s fathers, played by Nick Offerman and Marc Evan Jackson.

They are fishing together well after both their sons have disappeared.

“I guess maybe we did something wrong.”  – Mr. Keenan (Patrick’s father)

Joe’s relationship with dad, Frank, is more strained than that of Patrick and his father.

Joe’s mom passed away and in the beginning of the film he says he wants to leave home before he becomes like his Dad.

But Joe and Frank are reunited in a time of need for both and all is right with the world.

Everyone survives, broken friendships are mended and (spoiler alert) the snake dies.

Biaggio says it right with, “You should never quit on a friend.”

If there is one theme to the film, it’s that.

From what I can tell, everyone in this film sought to make something close to their heart in some way. They didn’t want fame or fortune, just for the story to be told.

I will say, especially of Robinson, Basso and Arias, this is just the beginning of their careers.

Keep watching Offerman, too. While I love what he brings to Ron Swanson on “Parks and Recreation,” I want to see more of his range as an actor.

“The night is still young.”

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