Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012)

What's it about? Set in the 1960s on an island off the coast of New England, where two young teenagers, Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward), declare their everlasting love for each other and run away together. A search party is dispatched to find them, which includes Suzy's parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand), local police chief (Bruce Willis) and Sam's scoutmaster (Edward Norton), an experience which forces them to face up to issues in their own lives.


Is it any good? A really sweet little romantic comedy, with an offbeat charm and sensibility. I'm not the biggest fan of Wes Anderson's films, which normally leave me a little cold. Here, however, he has found warm heart to build his measured aesthetic style and dry comic observations around, delivering his best film since Rushmore. Gilman and Hayward give wonderful performances as the slightly eccentric young teenagers experiencing the first flushes of love, and there's a nice contrast between the innocent clarity of their dreams and the vaguely unsatisfied reality of the lives of the adults out searching for them. It doesn't explore this in any great depth, but then it isn't particularly trying to be anything profound or thought-provoking. Instead, it's just a nice little coming-of-age story given a little shot in the arm by Anderson's trademark visual style and quirky treatment of the material. I liked it a lot.

Anything else I should know? I ran away from home once. Lived in a tent, drank ginger beer, caught fish in the lake, cooked them over a campfire. Good times. The police found me and brought me home. Man, never seen my wife so mad. Well, she shouldn't have left me in charge of that children's party.

What does the Fonz think? Sweet dreams.





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