Release Date: May 25, 2012 (NY, LA; wide release: June 29)
Studio: Focus Features
Director: Wes Anderson
Screenwriter: Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola
Starring: Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward
Genre: Comedy, Romance
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for sexual content and smoking)
Official Website: MoonriseKingdom.com
Making a secret pact a year prior to actually venturing on a journey together, two twelve year olds, Suzy and Sam, fall in love and run away together into the woods off of the coast of New England in the summer 1965. As numerous authority figures, parents, and legal guardians hunt them down, an oncoming storm approaches the island community with both physical and subliminal implications.
the mid-60′s was an interesting time, and I’ve always wondered what it might have felt like sitting in a movie theater during my mom and dad’s childhood. In Moorise Kingdom, not only do I get a sense of what my parents grew up with, I also see a sliver of the implications troubled children grew up with in the 60′s.
It’s a love story, an adventure, a comedy, and biblical allegory, all wonderfully combined into a poetic film with very little to dislike. From start to finish, the visual display was in a yellowish tint with a faded aura, complete with high-riding boy scout shorts and mustard kerchiefs that made me wonder how the heck my dad didn’t play a party in the story! The film’s list of items also included a wonderful array of things that any collector or pawn shop owner would drool over – a portable record player, glimmering vintage shoes, and hard back novels that I remember seeing on my parents bookshelf that were read to me as bed time stories. This film is nostalgia at its best!
However, what stuck out to me the most was the poetic nature of the story. This was a film highly driven by its script and period appropriateness, with careful attention being paid to the dialog and interactions that each character maintained and partook in. The sense of reality and fiction were fuse together into a flawless set of twisted, yet thought provoking elements that won’t spoon feed you the implications and their meanings. Rather, you’ll leave the theater with a smile on your face and conversations spewing from your mouth – focusing on what Moonrise Kingdom was about and why it was a joy to behold.
Artificial worlds is one of Director Wes Anderson’s best known trademarks, which also has been one of his many downfalls. This reviewers own personal opinions set aside, the rest of the country has never favored his independent flavor of film making. Anderson is truly a visionary in his field, but hasn’t always been met with positive feedback.
However, with Moonrise Kingdom, Anderson takes his style in new strides, creating a film audiences can relate to while remaining bewildered by his twisted sense of humor and storytelling. The world in which Anderson creates in Moonrise Kingdom is obviously based in reality, yet he seeps random acts of fiction into the story that seem, juxtaposed with everything else, hilariously odd and out of place; the by-the-book Scout Master Ward, (Edward Norton) leaping away from an exploding hut over a stream , Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis) making a plethora of silly comments while working his law enforcement role on an island severely lacking in criminal activity, And Suzy’s rather demented parents, played excellently by Bill Murray and Frances McDormand, all added to the overall scheme of the film.
Suzy (Kara Hayward) and Sam (Jared Gilman) are two young adults on the verge of discovering who they really are. They decide to get married and run away to freedom. And while they only knew each other very slightly, their quirkiness and profound intellectual approach (term used loosely) to anything they encountered proved the two had a connection that most married couples never develop in a life time.
This film leaks out a new level of poetry that we don’t see in modern films anymore. Within its script is contained a simple story, with simple characters, in a simple world, and simple problems that everyone can encounter. Yet amongst all the simplicity, we see a story as complex as any found in the backyard of Hollywood without the need of overspending an unnecessary amount on special effects. The camera does all the work, and that’s clearly enough.
However, given the story and everything that was odd and out of place about it, one would think Moonrise Kingdom wouldn’t have worked. But as Sam stated, “Poems don’t always have to rhyme, you know. They’re just supposed to be creative.” Anderson lives up to this statement completely by providing a real story with dream like qualities about it, making it the most poetic and heart felt film of the year.