FINALLY! I feel like it’s been forever that the Moonrise Kingdom trailer came out. I’ve been holding my breath for this movie for months. I love, love, love Wes Anderson. Everything he makes is my favorite. Now I get to add another favorite. (Note: The following does NOT contain spoilers.)
Like Rushmore, the movie features extraordinary, yet troubled, children. Sam and Suzy (played by newcomers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward) meet and form a solid friendship as pen pals. I thought the montage of them getting to know each other and reading the letters was the best part of the movie. So nicely done.
Set in 1965 on a little island off the coast of New England, the imagery is beautiful. Most of it takes place in the wilderness as Sam escapes camp to meet Suzy and run away together. The dysfunctional adults in their lives frantically try to find them before a violent storm hits the island.
Edward Norton played Sam’s Khaki Scout troop leader and was simply brilliant. A mix of authoritative commander and childlike earnestness, he often resembled a little boy himself. A big kid who never left camp.
Bill Murray and Frances McDormand expertly played dry and neurotic parents trapped in an unhappy marriage. I wouldn’t have minded more character development and screen time for them, as they are such fabulous actors. But this movie was all about the kids.
Bruce Willis played one of my favorite characters, Captain Sharp. A lonely cop with a heart of gold and so humanly imperfect, I was reminded that Bruce Willis is so much more than an action actor.
Tilda Swinton really is a scene stealer. She is so visually striking. She was just meant to be watched on screen and her character was so intriguing. I hope to see her in future Anderson films.
Perhaps the most Wes Anderson-y character was the unnamed narrator, played by Seinfeld’s Bob Balaban. Like all of Anderson’s characters, he was subdued, melancholy, slightly depressed. He looked like a little gnome as he helped bring the audience up to speed between scenes. For me, this role really pulled the whole movie together.
I can’t say much more without spoiling the story. But I will say this: Only Wes Anderson could tell the story of a 12-year-old couple falling in love and have it be so absurd and beautiful that the audience simply must take it seriously. Not once did I think, But they are just kids. This is one that I might have to go see in the theater again.
Have you seen Moonrise Kingdom yet? I’d love to know your opinion. Leave a comment!