From the Headmaster

Headmaster Movie Review... The Kid Who Would Be King

Alfred F. Dugan III

Credit: Kerry Brown

The Kid Who Would Be King - an amateur film review by Rik Dugan
Common Sense Media says age 10+

From the moment we first saw the trailer for The Kid Who Would Be King, my family and I made a promise that we would go to see it in the theater. Last weekend provided that opportunity, and in my opinion, it was well worth the wait.

Maybe I was moved by the rare moment of being with my entire family in the movie theater. Maybe I was moved by the nostalgia of a film that, in my opinion, blended films like The Goonies and Harry Potter together to remind me that I am a child of the 80s living as an adult in 2019. Maybe I was moved by the idea that a boy could be "the chosen one" to pull Excalibur from the stone and save humanity - why not? Maybe I was moved because I saw my children, and all of my Princeton Academy students, represented in the film. Perhaps it was the thematic invocation of youthful struggles like bullying, friendship, social status, fitting in. Maybe I was inspired by the modern adaptation of chivalry and honor, timeless values that I believe deserve a place in today's world. I was intrigued by the multi-layered social commentary, both obvious and inconspicuous, regarding the world we are living in today. Morgana, banished half-sister of King Arthur, states that she has been waiting for her time to reemerge when humanity is leaderless, adrift, in conflict, and children have lost an appreciation of nature, their sense of wonder and their belief in magic. What the forces of evil were not banking on, however, was one creative, compassionate and courageous boy who could turn his enemies into allies and unite an army of children to save the world. There is hope.

The truth is, the movie brought me back to being a boy. I played in the woods, I loved my action figures, I played with my friends, I had ups and I had downs. I grew up always using my imagination. Most of the world I lived in was make-believe and I remember, vividly, that while I was using my imagination it always felt so real. I was not lost in those worlds… I was found in those worlds. I loved being a boy and I often long for those days again (which is why I consider myself blessed to be the father of a daughter and two sons and to be the headmaster of a boys school bursting with imagination).

Watching The Kid Who Would Be King with my own children made me realize just how special childhood should be. Alexander, like Arthur, is the once and future King. Before he could believe that this was true, however, he had to embrace the possibility of it all, believe in something larger than himself and, most importantly, believe in himself. As we are reminded in the film, anything is possible if you believe. I think that is what children need to be told now more than ever. Hope matters.

I loved my Goonies, my Explorers, my Neverending Story and I feel fortunate to remember childhood joy amidst the natural hardships of boyhood. I walked away from the film thinking about my children and about yours… our human family. The child in all of us is the true king. So if any of that resonates with you, I encourage you to take two hours, release from the day-to-day, and check out what this person thinks is a worthwhile film.


  • 80s
  • boyhood
  • boys
  • childhood
  • parenting

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