When you are a teenager, all you want to do is to grow up. To be an adult, to prove your worth to yourself, those closest to you, and to the world.
As a teenage boy, it is paramount that at some point, you are able to prove that you are a man, that you are able to stand on your own two feet and demonstrate to the world that you can take whatever it throws at you.
While growing tired of his bitter father, and abnormal family life, two friends decide that they are going to build a house in the woods, to escape the world that has been so disappointing for them to that point. They want to prove that they are men, that they can do the things in the world that they will soon be expected to do.
The Kings of Summer is very much a traditional coming-of-age story, and one that is fun and adventurous, as it should be. Our protagonists follow through with their wild dream, causing their families great turmoil over their disappearances. But they are out to prove that they can live on their own, without the need of their overbearing parents, or the regular trappings of city life. It is a simple desire, and the journey they undertake is interesting.
The film is beautifully shot, with great scenery throughout. I liked the script in that it never pushed things too far, and never veered into the unrealistic. They don’t build an incredible palace in the woods, they don’t fall into a Lord of the Flies type of battle for supremacy. They are just boys, enjoying their simple time away from the world. Sure, they have their issues, such as trying to hunt and feed themselves, and despite their desire to get away from it all, it is never truly possible. As with any, or most, teenage boys, girls are an issue, as are questions of popularity and the sens of needing to belong. All of these things are explored in The Kings of Summer, and it is enjoyable seeing it unfold.
We cheer for our protagonists, hoping that they will be able to make everything work, that they can prove their worth, that they can show themselves to be successful and important in their own minds. That they are albe to create something that they deem important, and that they don’t need the outside world that doesn’t really want them in the first place.
I think this film could be compared to a light version of Into the Wild, though not nearly as intense. It is meant to be light-hearted, and it is. And this was a strength of the story, in that we get the feeling that nothing truly bad could happen to our characters, and that they will somehow be able to work things out for themselves, and that in the end, they will be okay.
There is some really good acting throughout the film, from the major characters to the smaller ones. Standout performances come from Nick Offerman, as the bitter father, and Allison Brie, as the sister. Smaller roles, but integral ones to the development of the leads.
Overall, a very solid film here. Not going to change any lives, but it will show that there are types of characters out there who are willing to push the boundaries to ensure that they can change their own. Well worth a watch.