Kings of Summer is the debut movie of director Jordan Vogt-Robert. It starts with two suburban teenage boys in the woods facing each other. A third one dances on the pipe. They are fascinated by girls and their budding manhood.
The movie is a comedy about youth but it also has a universal appeal on how it treats the parents of the boys. It tugs on the hearts of the audience along the way. Joe Toy (Nick Robinson) has a bad father named Frank (Nick Offerman). The father is not really a villain but he is someone who doesn’t want to show his vulnerability to others and uses anger to cover it up.
Frank and Joe have lots to be vulnerable about. Frank’s wife died several years back and instead of mourning, he bullied his son on anything Joe does and implements a curfew. The scenes can bring back childhood memories of parental malfeasance.
Because of his father’s actions, Joe decides to run away from home and build a shelter to live with his best friend Patrick (Gabriel Basso) and Biaggo (Moises Arias), the strange brainiac they allow to come along because he is smart.
Biaggo’s father doesn’t understand his son. Patrick’s parents love him a lot but he goes with Joe because they’re young and need to figure things out for themselves without any adult supervision. They go into the woods, which is just a half mile from their homes.
The police find the boys and see that they are not alone. Other kids are visiting them. The worried parents decide to back off and leave their sons on their adventure. The movie is loved by critics who watched it at Sundance. Some of the kids who visit them are runaway girls.
Kings of Summer shows that girls mature much earlier than guys. Nature is also one of the stars of the movie. It becomes the teacher from which Joe learns the most. It is a coming of age movie that transcends the genre.