Starring Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Edward Norton, and Bruce Willis
Directed by Wes Anderson
I worry for Wes Anderson, I really do. With the spectacular decline in originality that has befallen Tim Burton, that other uber-stylized auteur of our times, one can’t help but wonder when Wes Anderson’s day will come.
Those thoughts are quickly put aside as Moonrise Kingdom sweeps viewers along on a surprisingly fast-paced journey through impending adolescence in 1965 New England. What is at first glance a simple tale of young lovers against the world seamlessly interweaves at least five other related subplots with surprisingly well realized character arcs.
The film opens on Suzy. Suzy lives in a doll house and her family dynamics and interactions are filmed exactly that way – by removing the outer wall. Despite her family strife, Robert Yeoman’s 16mm cinematography imbues the story with a warm fuzziness – just like our own memories of youth. Suzy’s knight in khaki armor, Sam, has concocted an elaborate scheme to whisk her away from her unhappy home, and as it turns out, his own tragic tale of woe.
Moonrise Kingdom continues to dominate the “specialty box office”‘ and rightly so. The performances from our young leads, Jared Gilman (Sam) and Kara Hayward (Suzy), are superb, and Edward Norton’s charming dufus scout leader steals every scene he’s in.
This is an uncomplicated film and while our young lovers Suzy and Sam sound cynical, there is an optimism in their faith that true love will conquer all- even if the lovers are just 12 years old. And that’s the thing, whether it is loneliness, abandonment, neglect or betrayal, true love really does conquer all in this film.
I dare you not to think back on your first innocent forays into love.