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Kings

A foster family in South Central a few weeks before the city erupts in violence following the verdict of the Rodney King trial in 1992.
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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

25

The Playlist by Bradley Warren

Ergüven’s sophomore film is a tonal disaster, jerking from shrill melodrama to screwball comedy and always at the most inappropriate of moments.
42

IndieWire by David Ehrlich

Eschewing poeticism for an empty sense of prefab empathy, Kings is so determined to be hopeful that it forgets to be honest.
50

The New York Times by Glenn Kenny

The first English-language film from the Turkish-French director Deniz Gamze Ergüven (her 2015 movie “Mustang” was a foreign language Oscar nominee) is well-acted across the board, and contains more than a few outstanding, unpredictable scenes. But in tying its story to this particular moment in American history, the movie bites off more than it can coherently chew.
42

The Film Stage by Jordan Ruimy

The missteps seem to never end as the director and actors struggle to bring some kind of coherence to this unwieldy film. Although it tries to be political and relevant to our times, Kings becomes such a confusing blur that one wonders where precisely in the process it all went wrong.
40

The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw

There are sparks of interest and some powerful moments, but it is structurally disjointed, tonally uncertain, unfocused and unfinished, with some very broad drama-improv-class acting from the kids and a frankly unrelaxed and undirected performance from Halle Berry.
50

Chicago Sun-Times by Richard Roeper

The English-language debut from the brilliant talent behind best foreign film picture nominee “Mustang” is a terribly uneven, borderline absurdist jumble that undercuts its own message again and again.
63

Movie Nation by Roger Moore

The sprawl of it, the seeming disorganization, all work to its advantage and betray Kings' ambition. Ergüven wasn’t going for documentary, she was aiming for an impressionistic “feel” — terror, outrage, helplessness, a city and a system that aren’t built for you, even when you’re hurt, even when you’re in trouble.

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