DVD & Blu-ray review: The Kings of Summer

DVD & Blu-ray, Optimum

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The Independent Culture

It’s a coming-of-age movie, though not quite as we know it. Best friends Joe (Nick Robinson) and Patrick (Gabriel Basso) are 15 years old and fed up with their parents. Patrick’s are invasively friendly, while Joe’s widowed father has withdrawn into sarcastic gruffness.

On discovery of a clearing deep in the woods, Joe decides on a Thoreau-like experiment: they will abscond from home and build a ramshackle house for the summer. The film’s tone seesaws between the confusion of adolescence and the quirkiness of an American indie debut, the latter incarnated in the Puckish figure of Biaggio (Moisés Arias), the boys’ diminutive fixer, while the former is represented by Kelly (Erin Moriarty), the dream blonde admired by both. The domestic idyll begins to flake in the heat.

And if the film doesn’t quite manage to dovetail the different elements, there’s tender characterisation, good performances and fabulous deadpan humour from Joe’s dad.