A pair of young lovers flee their New England town, which causes a local search party to fan out and find them.
Writers: Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola
Director: Wes Anderson
Stars: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton and Bill Murray
Runtime: 94 Minutes
Popcorn Score: Large Popcorn with Butter
Wes Anderson welcomes us into yet another fantasy world created in his imagination and delivers a story about a select group of bizarre folks, living in a beautifully bizarre land in his latest film “Moonrise Kingdom”. This time he does it better than ever before. That is not taking anything away from his previous works of art “The Darjeeling Limited”, “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and most of his others, but “Moonrise Kingdom” succeeds on every level. A work of art is exactly what a Wes Anderson film is. In this day and age where there are movies made for all the wrong reasons, for box office returns; (The Avengers), to please an audience of 13 year old girls or remaking the same Romantic Comedy or Action Flick over and over again, it is promising to walk in to the theater and see a director who is still given the freedom to tell the story he intends to tell and tell it with such beauty and ease. Wes Anderson creates characters, lands, sets, costumes, everything, that are so creative and original that it makes you feel lucky as a viewer to be watching his film.
Speaking of Wes Anderson, I couldn’t help but notice as I was looking over the cast list for this fantastic movie, that he and one of his stars look quite a bit alike!…
It is Popcorn Movie Review’s belief that Wes Anderson and Tilda Swinton are actually Identical Twins that were separated at birth. Despite their identical appearance they are stubborn in accepting the truth because to this day they are the only case of male/female identical twins.
The story is of Sam and Suzy, a young boy and girl with lost souls living on a small island where the people are quite quirky and seem to exist only to serve the purpose of this story. Sam is an orphan and Suzy’s family runs the lighthouse. They meet one summer and share a “love at first sight experience”, or at least an “acknowledgment of each other at first sight” that sparks a friendship, the only one that either of them has. Over the course of the summer while he is away at Khaki Scout camp, learning survival skills under his Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton) and she is stuck with her family in the light house, they write back and forth and plan their escape.
The two meet on the planned day at the planned time and in the planned location, Sam with everything the two would need to survive a lifetime together, Suzy with her binoculars, some of her favorite books, her cat and her brothers portable 45 record player that she promised to return in 10 days. They embark on their journey, not knowing where exactly it will lead them. They create distance between them and the world they leave behind throughout the course of the first afternoon and finally decide it would be best to pitch camp at 4:00 pm at a beautiful beach that will serve as home for their first night together. They experience their freedom for the first time, along with the embrace of another person in some moments that, although are done with incredible taste and “cutesiness” will make parents of 12 year olds everywhere uncomfortable.
It is not long before the adults of the community find out that there are children that have gone missing and they begin a search for the two lost lovers. Lead by the local Capt. Sharp (Bruce Willis), Suzy’s parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand), Scout Master Ward (and his troops), and the Social Services (Tilda Swinton) seek out to find the children. The very next morning is when they are found, sleeping in each other’s arms, but their 2nd escape is inevitable.
I am always perplexed by the style and quirky nature of the characters in Wes Anderson films. I suppose that part of the reason why he uses many of the same actors and actresses in each of his films is because they have an understanding with each other of how it should be played. But I wonder about the newcomers, especially Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward in this case. How they are told to play the part. Everyone in the movie has such a similar personality, detached to a certain degree. The actors certainly never play for the laugh, in fact they play everything straight and that in turn makes the characters believable, even though they are usually quite unrealistic people.
I was told before I saw that this movie I would leave with a warm, fuzzy feeling. I did. The movie is a feel good story and I could tell by the reaction of the audience leaving the full theater that it made everyone feel the same way. I would hope that a film this great and beautiful would be recognized for its greatness and its beauty come award season early next year.
Large Popcorn with Butter.