The Kings of Summer Movie Poster Image

The Kings of Summer



Funny teen coming-of-age story has swearing, some drinking.
Parents recommend
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages
The three main characters come of age in this story. They learn, somewhat, how to be self-sufficient and take care of themselves. They also learn that asking for a little help isn't a bad thing. They suffer through some betrayals -- both in romance and friendship -- but they find themselves wiser and more understanding. A father and son also learn to mend their fractured relationship.
Positive role models
You wouldn't really want young teens emulating these characters -- especially when it comes to running away from home, stealing from their parents, and drinking while underage. But they're genuinely good people, and they do learn some valuable lessons about family, friendship, and trust.
The main character traps a rabbit and kills it (off camera). He then carries it back to camp, skins and cleans it, and cooks it. It appears to be a real rabbit, with blood shown. Characters often argue with one another, albeit in a playful way. A snake bites a main character, who is subsequently rushed to the hospital. In an early scene, a school bully steals the main character's shirt. Main characters play a violent "shooter" video game.
There's a brief scene about a teen boy masturbating in the shower, but nothing  is shown. A couple is shown heavily making out.
"F--k" and "s--t" are used several times, by both teens and adults. "C--t," "c--k," "piss," "bitch," "bastard," "d--k," "goddamn," "hell," and "Jesus" are also used from time to time. A middle finger gesture is shown.
The Boston Market restaurant chain is a large part of the movie's plot. The game of Monopoly is a smaller part. Barbasol shaving cream is shown. A character works on a snack wagon at a golf course, and many snack brands are glimpsed.
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
An early scene takes place at a big high school drinking party, with a keg that goes empty. The main characters attend the party but are denied drinks on account of being freshmen (though the school year has just ended and they're now rising sophomores). The movie's main teen female character is shown to be drunk at the party. In a later scene, two of the main teen characters are shown casually sipping beer in the woods but aren't shown drunk or overindulging. Adult characters are shown smoking cigars.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Kings of Summer is a coming-of-age dramedy about freshmen/sophomore-age high school students. Like Stand by Me, the strong language is the main reason for the movie's "R" rating. Words include "f--k," "s--t," "c--k," and "c--t." There's also some teen drinking, mainly at a big party early in the film, and then some casual beer-sipping later on. There's a fairly intense scene of a character catching and skinning a rabbit, which appears real. Characters often fight and argue as well. Though there are some romantic stirrings between teens, there's little more than flirting (older characters are seen kissing), though one scene does suggest masturbation in the shower (nothing graphic is shown). Overall, the characters mean well (despite some iffy decisions/actions), and the film has worthy messages about friendship and self-sufficiency.

What's the story?

At the end of his lackluster freshman year in high school, Joe (Nick Robinson) has gotten fed up with his cynical father (Nick Offerman). And his friend Patrick (Gabriel Basso) is so annoyed by his strange, cheery parents (Megan Mullally and Marc Evan Jackson) that he's getting a rash. Fortunately, Joe has the perfect solution: They'll run away into the woods, build their own house, and live like kings. The very strange, philosophical Biaggio (Moises Arias) joins them. Their adventure works, and they start to learn new and interesting ways of being in the world. But at the same time, new frictions come up: friendships are tested, and parents never stop looking for their missing kids.

Is it any good?


Coming-of-age movies are generally a dime a dozen, but with this one, first-time writer Chris Galletta and Funny or Die veteran director Jordan Vogt-Roberts have created a breath of fresh air. The witty characters take action in their world and are allowed to succeed and fail alternately. They feel real and sympathetic, in spite of the cartoony nature of the movie's humor.

And although the parents are definitely stereotypes, they're also smart and allowed to fail, and they likewise earn our sympathy. The director employs many simple moments of life unrelated to the plot -- such as the opening "drumming" scene -- to add a specific summery, relaxed, wide-open mood to the movie. The casting and performances are faultless, and the three young leads make a terrific comedy trio together, generating a specific, unique chemistry. The Kings of Summer could become a young person's classic, destined to be rediscovered by subsequent generations.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether strong language is/should be enough of a reason to restrict teens from seeing a movie about characters their age. Teens: How prevalent is swearing in your life? Does it make a movie more or less relatable to you when it has that kind of language?
  • Kings of Summer shows teens drinking in two scenes. Could the movie have done without these scenes? Are there consequences for the drinking? Are they realistic?
  • What's the relationship between the teen characters and their parents? Are these relationships realistic or exaggerated for humor?
  • What's the most important thing the characters learn in this story?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 31, 2013
DVD/Streaming release date:September 24, 2013
Cast:Gabriel Basso, Moises Arias, Nick Offerman, Nick Robinson
Director:Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Studio:CBS Films
Run time:93 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language and some teen drinking

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 14 year old Written byslonnett June 30, 2013

Should've been PG-13, a good movie to watch with your teen

I really don't understand why this movie got an R rating... aside from the language and scenes where the main characters are drinking one bottle of beer or puffing twice on a cigar, I was pretty surprised that it wasn't PG-13. This movie was definitely a PG-13. It was funny, honest, entertaining, a little cliche, but overall - a good movie for parents to watch WITH their kids. It reminded me of Stand By Me meets the Goonies. Some awkward dialogue but pretty entertaining without pushing the limits too far - I have seen WAY worse content in a PG-13 movie than in this one. On the heels of some discipline issues with our own 14 yr. old son, we saw the movie trailer and immediately related to the storyline - laughing at the ridiculousness of teenagers who think they've got it all figured out... and the idea that they could realistically go live in the woods just to escape their "awful" home life. So, after the smoke cleared here at home, we were considering taking our son to see the movie with us (his first R-rated theater movie), and we found ourselves wondering if he would view the runaway concept as more desirable than being stuck home and grounded with us! Well, we needn't have worried. He immediately found the humor in the accurate portrayal of how parents are seen by their struggling-to-grow-up-too-fast teenage children and related to the main characters while still seeing how far-fetched their runaway plan was. We, as parents, immediately recognized the love and good intentions and struggles that parents feel when trying to keep in touch with their teen's lives as they are growing up and gradually separating from home. It was good - we all enjoyed it and talked about how hard it is for both of us to navigate the period between childhood and adulthood - and that sometimes, kids do really dumb things, and sometimes, parents really DO know what's best for their kids!
What other families should know
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written byElizabeth Blue September 25, 2013

A Hilarious, Well Made Coming-Of-Age Film

This movie is not only hilarious and extremely clever, the positive messages and role models way overhaul any bad messages in this movie. If anything, it's just realistic. There is some, not a lot, but some swearing. There's drinking, mention of masturbation, and a whole ton of interest in girls. But there's nothing in this movie any more vulgar than what teenagers are hearing in school every day, and I honestly think it would be appropriate for anyone over the age of 13. The "overbearing parents" in this movie are actually, literally overbearing, and don't just give kids unrealistic ideas of what a parent should do. It's a hilarious coming of age movie with incredible writing and characters that are real and relatable and really good people to look up to or learn from their mistakes. It will certainly spark smart conversation among friends and family alike.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 16 years old Written byUnknownpearson June 1, 2013


Great but language like, f-k s--t a-s are use many time and. There is some sexuality like a mom mention a girl on a bikkinie . Lots of teen drinking . It's all in there .its suitible for 16 +
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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