A Place in the Woods

Kings of Summer

When I was a teenager I frequently daydreamed about my future independent life.  What would it be like to live unencumbered by someone else’s rules, in a place of my own choosing?

In Kings of Summer, 3 teens follow the dream: two lifelong friends and a younger, quirky tag-along.  Consciously attempting to create a rite of passage to manhood and escape from his borderline verbally-abusive widowed father, the rebellious mastermind designs and leads construction of a house in the Ohio woods, hunts for food (well, sort of … ) and pursues the girl – all, activities which suggest adulthood and independence.  But these remain mere suggestions rather than affirmations; this does eventually arrive, as is predictable.  The charm of this film, though, is that this predictability works, and doesn’t cause you (well, me) to grumble Oh dear, here we go with the predictable crappy blah blah blah.  It absolutely works.

Beneath the story is a whisper of regret and loss, and if I have one criticism it’s that I found this rather too subtle to be moving, and too flagrant to be satisfying.  But I’d not mind watching this film again, and will recommend to my friends.

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