King of the Hill
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King of the Hill
Steven Soderbergh, after the success of sex, lies, and videotape and the commercial failure of Kafka, pulls a rabbit out of his hat with this quiet and evocative recollection of a childhood lived in the Depression, based on A. E. Hotchner's memoir. Twelve-year-old Aaron Kurlander (Jesse Bradford) is coming of age in a rotting working class section of St. Louis in 1933. As the film begins, Aaron's family is coming apart at the seams due to the increasingly bleak economy. His father (Jeroen Krabbe) ekes out a living with a series of failed sales jobs as the family lives in the… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The film does a lovely job of juxtaposing the sharp contrasts in Aaron's life, and in marveling at the fact that he survives as buoyantly as he does."
‑ Janet Maslin, New York Times
"It's his best work by far."
‑ Desson Thomson, Washington Post
"It all seemed like an oddly straightforward ... choice for Soderbergh at the time, but he has proven since then that his lateral range is almost immeasurable."
‑ Christopher Long, Movie Metropolis
"Tenderly directed and written by Steven Soderbergh."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Bradford gives a memorable performance"
‑ Clint Morris, Moviehole
"A remarkable odyssey about a resilient young hero who uses both his imagination and his sense of reality to survive."
‑ James Berardinelli, ReelViews
"The slow-paced King of the Hill is a feel-good fable in which it's difficult to work up any worry over a boy with clearly unsinkable spirits."
‑ Richard Harrington, Washington Post
"King Of The Hill balances an incident-packed script with muted tones, painting a rich, absorbing picture of one boy's struggle to live by his wits."
‑ Noel Murray, The Dissolve
"Early Soderbergh family drama is excellent."
‑ Lori Hoffman, Atlantic City Weekly
"Soderbergh's most underrated film and easily his most affecting."
‑ Dan Lybarger, Nitrate Online
"With the kind of material you'd never dream of associating with him, Soderbergh has made his best film."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"one of Soderbergh's best films: a painterly, thoughtful, and subtly emotional portrait of preadolescent coming of age in dire circumstances"
‑ James Kendrick, Q Network Film Desk
"To revisit King of the Hill—or to discover it—is to realize how seldom American cinema deems it worthwhile to tell a child's story with anything approaching serious psychological intent. [Criterion Blu-ray/DVD]"
‑ Peter Canavese, Groucho Reviews
"This dark, poetic movie is intended as a tribute to the resilient spirit of many Jewish families that had fallen on hard times; Aaron and his survival instincts recall the young protagonists of Mark Twain and Charles Dickens."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Affirms imagination as a character attribute that helps a resilient adolecent to survive in hard times."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
More reviews for King of the Hill on Rotten Tomatoes