Title: Moonrise Kingdom
Director(s): Wes Anderson
Genre(s): Comedy, Drama
Rating: PG-13Release Date (USA): June 29, 2012
The year is 1965. A remote coastal community is plunged into confusion when it discovers that two of its children have fallen in love and run away together. Sam (Jared Gilman) is a newly orphaned, discontented Khaki Scout. Suzy (Kara Hayward) is a disillusioned daughter whose parents are on the verge of divorce. The “responsible” adults – Sam's Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton) and Suzy's parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand) – accompanied by the entire town, set out on a frenzied search as the largest storm in recorded history touches down and throws their lives in disarray.
Moonrise Kingdom is abundantly successful because Wes Anderson delivers a touching, heartfelt narrative surrounded by some absurdly bizarre circumstances. It’s what he does best and he does it so well because though the action is unbelievable, the people are painfully and wonderfully human. What ensues is a battle between faith and cynicism, hope and disillusionment. It’s everything we’ve come to expect from a Wes Anderson film, only this time it’s far more nostalgic and relatable.
What we’re given is a tender love story set in the sepia-soaked sixties. It’s stylized, perfectly executed and wonderfully acted by newcomers Gilman and Hayward. I expect great things from these two in the future! Some might complain at the movie’s lack of character development (especially with regard to the main adult characters) but ultimately, this isn’t who the story’s about. It touches on the complexities of passing from adolescence to adulthood and its main focus is the two kids stuck somewhere in between. We are given just enough on the side-players to keep us satisfied and engaged.
If you’ve ever seen a Wes Anderson film, you’ll know he’s a pro when it comes to poignant observations and life lessons. His characters' to-the-point attitudes and wooden dialogue add to the film’s overall directness. He has a distinct trademarked style which isn’t necessarily for everyone, and even I find myself getting a little tired of it from time to time. But if you have a keen eye and sharp wit, it’s hard not to laugh at the subtly comical details. It’s also important to mention the soundtrack as it, too, plays a key role here. You couldn’t ask for a more perfect score --- it’s wistful and classical; a perfect complement to the film’s overall dreamy air. I look forward to adding it to my ipod playlist.
Perhaps my favourite part about this film is its brilliant use of narration-- in the form of a weatherman and a flood, to be more precise. Anderson and his co-writer, Roman Coppola, have crafted an elegant and emphatic metaphor for adolescence. It's the end of the world but also it becomes a new world, one for the taking. Make no mistake, there are most certainly parts that hit heavy and bring a touch of melancholy to the overall tone, but if you make it through to the end, you’re left smiling and wistful for the days of your youth.
Summary PrognosisAnderson’s films, though often overly eccentric, are refreshingly funny and always interesting to look at. He’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re someone who can get on board with his abundant quirkiness, you’ll definitely love Moonrise Kingdom. I think it takes the cake as one of his stronger films to date and you’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t give it a fighting chance.