Set in 1965, Jared Gilman stars as Sam - a troubled 12-year old boy,
ostracized by his peers, feeling unwanted anywhere in the world, and
considered kind of strange, who decides to go AWOL from his summer
scout camp. Scout Master Ward (Ed Norton) gathers the troop and
contacts the local police force, Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis), to enact
a full search for the kid, but everything gets a bit complicated when
another troubled 12-year old, Suzy (Kara Hayward), also disappears, and
her parents, Walt (Bill Murray) and Laura (Frances McDormand), realize
she may have run off with Sam.
As everyone searches this small island for Sam and Suzy, can they find
the two before a massive storm hits?
From writer/director Wes Anderson and co-writer Roman Coppola, movie
fans familiar with Anderson's work know exactly what they are getting
in Moonrise Kingdom. The man behind The Fantastic Mr. Fox,
The Royal Tenenbaums and Darjeeling Limited
has a very distinct style that haters wish to see banished to the
furthest reaches of Siberia, while fans cheer and laugh all the way
through the dry, sometimes ironic, biting and shockingly outrageous
twists and turns we witness on screen. Put me in the cheering category.
Everything in Moonrise Kingdom has a style, an attitude, a
sound or a visual that uniquely puts us in this crazy, not quite real
world. Most of all, it is the visuals that stun. The opening scene, as
Anderson wanders around the lighthouse where Suzy's family lives, gives
us all sorts of insight into their lives, interactions,
non-interactions and attitudes, while also stimulating our eyes.
Plus, I love the structure and tone. In between all of the dourness, we
get plenty of explanation how Suzy and Sam get to know each other and
relevant details to explain what each kid is going through. As Moonrise
Kingdom progresses, the audience gets to laugh, but realizes the
underlying sadness and impending doom in each scene. Even more
shocking, Anderson and Coppola add an unforeseen, but welcome strange
sweetness to the proceedings.
Unfortunately, I wish we had more about the adults. Coppola and
Anderson gloss over some of the big stories, leaving them unexplained,
which would have added more depth to the movie, especially as the last
act feels slightly anti-climactic and repetitive.
Yet, Hayward outshines every adult and kid in Moonrise Kingdom.
Her screen presence and mix of precociousness and vulnerability reminds
me of a young Christina Ricci when she broke through with The Adams
Family or Tatum O'Neal in The Bad News Bears. She is the
star of the movie and the character everyone is captivated by because
of the intensity she brings, then tempers with apprehension and fear.
Moonrise Kingdom is another great film from
Anderson, and the beginning of a fantastic career for Hayward.
Moonrise Kingdom is rated PG-13 for sexual
content and smoking.