I was recently given an opportunity to see an advanced screening of a movie called Kings of Summer that has been well-received in the film festivals. From the outset, this movie intrigued me on several levels. It is refreshing to watch a coming-of-age movie that didn’t center on sexual conquest of other forms of pseudo-masculinity. Instead, the conflict the way I saw it, was boys wanting to be men without becoming those dads.
I am in no way a movie reviewer, but I do like movies and I enjoyed this one. I expected it to be a weird artsy independent film with obscure references to things movie writers like (I don’t know what those things are). Instead, this was a movie that was layered, clever, and written well-enough to the point where the characters progressions were believable and relatable. The humor was subtle and genuine, and the only two parts where they tried to hard to be funny are the parts of the movie where the punchlines didn’t connect. However, those instances are forgivable in a movie that felt complete without giving a Hallmark ending.
The best parts of the movie (as a father with a son and as a son with a broken relationship with his own father) was in the end when the father tells his son, “You did good.” And when the father further validates his son as no longer a boy, but on his way to manhood. This is what we need to see in movies more often; that the journey to manhood is between a boy and his father, and not through the usage of or objectification of women. In a moment I thought about how much I would love for my own father to have told me I was on my way to manhood, and also how I would some day be able to take my own son through that journey. This movie portrayed the volatility and subtleties of the father-son relationship.
Kings Of Summer is a movie I recommend parents to watch with their teens as a way to start a conversation with them about the independence they are wanting, and the precautions we are wanting to put on them. This movie will get you to talk about how cool we think we are as parents, and how our kids see us as uncool old people. I recommend this movie to young parents before their kids are teens so they can see how kids need balance, and that any parenting style taken to an extreme will be rebelled against.
I will watch this movie again, and possibly buy it when it is released. I am glad I had the chance to see this. Take a minute to watch the trailer.