King of the Corner

Movie review by
Common Sense Media Editors, Common Sense Media
King of the Corner Movie Poster Image
A story of maturity and consequences -- teens OK
  • R
  • 2005
  • 95 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Dad is very involved with teen daughter and they have open communication, Leo travels regularly to see his aging dad, appears to have a good relationship with his wife until he meets his high school crush.


Main character gets punched for admitting he slept with another man's wife.


Main character cheats on his wife (off-screen) with high school flame, sexual references.


Four letter words including f-word.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this film's central character is a man who has a good relationship with his family until he has an extramarital affair. This is followed by the death of his dad, and a crisis in the workplace, although this chain of events affords him greater appreciation for his family and career by the end of the film. The movie handles mature themes including infidelity, death, and caring for an elderly parent. There is some strong language and a few sexual references.

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What's the story?

KING OF THE CORNER centers on Leo Spivak (Peter Riegert), who is surrounded by loved ones, and seems to have all aspects of his life under control. He is a pro and a veteran at his place of work, and has an adoring apprentice. His daughter Elana (Ashley Johnson) is at a rebellious age, but Leo manages to keep the lines of communication open. His wife, Rachel (Isabella Rosellini), prefers Leo to take the lead in talking with their daughter, aware that mother-daughter bickering can get in the way of resolution. Leo also cares for his aging father, Sol (Eli Wallach). But things change when Leo learns his apprentice has (mistakenly) stolen one of his ideas. In an abrupt change in character, Leo has an affair with his high school crush. The turmoil continues when Leo finds himself fired from his job, and his father dies.

Is it any good?

Riegert wrote and directed this film, and it shows: The film plays like a one-man show -- almost better fit for the stage than the screen. Bottom line: Enjoyable characters and the lessons are plentiful, but it's definitely adult in nature.

Although there is little repercussion for his actions (his wife suspects the affair and says nothing, Leo ends up getting hired back and with a promotion after his boss thinks Leo is blackmailing him), it's the character study of King of the Corner that makes the quirky characters and their human flaws relatable.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the relationship between Leo and his daughter. Why is her mother hesitant to get involved? Is it out of character for this man to have an affair? How realistic is his wife's reaction to this news? How does Leo's relationship with his dad affect his life?

Movie details

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