The biggest positive this film has going for it is the phenomenal cast, especially the three main guys; Nick Robinson as the lead, Joe, who just wants to escape from living at home with his dad when his mum died, Gabriel Basso as Patrick, whose parents are smothering him and finally Moises Arias as the mysterious but hilarious Biaggio. These three actors are perfect, it’s as simple as that, these weren’t actors, these were real teenagers discovering who they are and taking the first step on a journey to manhood.
This has every beat of a coming of age story and it feels very similar to a lot of them, ‘Mud’ is one that sticks out in my mind, however being compared to ‘Mud’ is in no way an insult, ‘Mud’ is phenomenal. The parts where this film really shines as compared to ‘Mud’ is that this film feels so much more realistic, that’s not to say that ‘Mud’ wasn’t realistic, it’s just that ‘The Kings of Summer’ is more so.
The director, Jordan Vogt-Roberts, does a fantastic job of switching between worlds, from the light, fun and whimsical teenagers back to the serious, realistic world of the adults having to deal with this situation and it makes for a fantastic contrast between the two. The film is beautifully shot with so many perfect shots that it is just a delight to look at, which I love.
Like I said before, the story hits every beat of a typical coming of age story and that is not a good thing, the film starts to become very predictable as it goes on, you find yourself predicting what is going to happen before it does and that is a let down to the film as a whole because although there is nothing inherently wrong with the film, the fact that it does manage to hit every single coming of age story trope it deflates the film from being this fantastic piece of work to rely on the directing, the performances and its humour.
I didn’t expect to laugh so much during the film but this film truly is hilarious, most of the comedy coming from the absolutely phenomenal Moises Arias’ Biaggio, who delivers comedy on multiple fronts; physical comedy, clever jokes, or even just an odd statement. It feels as though the most thought and love was put in to this character by the screenwriter as he feels like the most uniquely genuine character in the film, the writing for the mysterious Biaggio is fantastic and combined with Arias’ portrayal instantly makes him an audience favourite. Even the small conversation he has with his father is so brilliantly written it makes me wish the film wasn’t so formulaic.
While ‘The Kings of Summer’ is formulaic it is still an absolute delightful watch with some fantastic jokes and some excellent performances all around. Watch this and reminisce about your antics as a teenager and let the warmth of the film flow over you, it’s worth your time.