Movie Review: Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

Quirky yet relatable characters, rich vision, and touching subject matter are trademarks of the one and only Wes Anderson. After veering into the animation branch with the Fantastic Mr. Fox, Anderson returns with a movie more along the lines of The Royal Tenebaums. With Moonrise Kingdom, we find Anderson at his best in merging the fanciful nature of childhood with the adult themes that has the potential to leave viewers with hope.

Set in 1965 New England on Penaznce Island, Sam (Jared Gilman) is an old orphan who decides to run away from the camp he is at for the summer where he is known by the other boys as dangerous. Suzy (Kara Hayward) is a girl who has inattentive parents (Bill Murray, and Frances McDormand) leaving her seeking attention in other ways. With his thick framed glasses he makes an odd match for Suzy who wears hip clothes, and makeup. Both 12, it seems they are oblivious to the pairing that looks mismatched to outsiders.  The two adolescents have been communicating, and concocted a plan to run away together. Everyone goes into panic trying to find the duo including the Scout troop consisting of Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton), and Captain Short (Bruce Willis). The duo is unknowing to everyone having went into chaos as they are caught up in the fanciful world of first love that provides escapism from their lives.

Every character has notable strengths they learn to utilize, and weaknesses they grow away from. Sam and Suzy are on the verge of being teenagers, and with that the exploration of loneliness, and love with the knowledge of kids still in the grasp of childhood. Murray, and McDormand show the brokenness in some of the most memorable scenes in the movie.One scene shows the two laying in separate beds at night, but the trouble with their daughter leaves them reaching out to one another again at least for the sake of their family. Their chemistry is silent yet it speaks volumes, and contrasts well against the young, beginning romance of Suzy, and Sam.

Within the first few minutes you are aware you’re watching a Wes Anderson film. With the artistic touches that color the movie you are shown a world that appears more imaginative than others, but within it everyone is living a life that brings it back to reality. You also have the distinctive characters that define his films. Anderson has matured in bringing the characters the life that was sometimes overshadowed by the characteristic nature his films were shot in.

By the end of this movie your heart will have been pulled in a million directions. You’ll fear for the turmoil that naive love might bring Suzy, and Sam in the hopes of leaving their parental problems, or lack thereof, behind. You’ll wantScout Master Ward to find confidence in his role at the camp. Most of all there is the want all these characters will be okay though their messes are not going to be an easy clean up. Moonrise Kingdom is a great addition to an array of characters that Wes Anderson has already introduced to the world, and the film shows he is only growing in his talent.

Rating 5 of 5.

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