Twelve-year-old Aaron is a young boy living with his family in a slowly decaying working class area of St. Louis in 1933. Due to the incredibly bleak economy, Aaron slowly sees his family coming apart at the seems one-by-one. First his younger brother is sent to live with relatives in an effort to save money, followed by his mother going to a sanitarium for health reasons. Eventually Aaron finds himself all alone, after his father leaves to sell watches on the road, coming to realize he must temper his dreams considering the reality he sees all around him in adulthood. Steven Soderbergh's King of the Hill is an affecting coming of age story that captures the power of resilience and imagination. Through the course of King of the Hill, Aaron finds himself confronted with sad reality after sad reality but his spirit never wavers. This is a film that moonlights as a child's coming of age story but in all actuality it is just as much a film for adults, capturing the importance of resilience and adaptability. In this regard, King of the Hills feels like a tribute to the poor working class of this era, who faced nearly insurmountable odds on almost a daily basis. While the story itself does a good job at putting the viewer into the point-of-view of Aaron, Soderbergh's visual design elevates it even more with his use of voyeuristic compositions, canted and low-angled photography submerges the viewer into young Aaron's perspective. Personally I wouldn't quite consider King of Hill one of Soderbergh's best films but it's definitely an underrated one, delivering a poignant coming of age story that captures the power money in this country has over nearly all things.
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