Here’s a film we didn’t plan to see. My party and I were there to catch another film (Brave) when one of the people in the group suggested we see the new Woody Allen movie first and then see the other film making it a double-header. So, we went about getting tickets and found our seats only to then realize this wasn’t the film we expected. The give-away was when we saw the preview of the Woody Allen film before this. Oops. It was then I realized we were about to see Wes Anderson‘s newest film, Moonrise Kingdom. Sounds like an Allen film, right? Thankfully it’s a film I wanted to see anyway. The rest of the group wasn’t so sure.
I’d start off by saying this film is quirky but, frankly, all of Anderson’s films are notably quirky and this one more so than most of the rest of his filmography family. I’m a fan myself and think The Royal Tenenbaums is a masterpiece of filmmaking.
This film stars Ed Norton as a dim-witted but well-meaning Scout Master, Bruce Willis as a simple small-town police officer and Bill Murray and Frances McDormand as very curious married lawyers. Their lives all become intertwined because of the latter’s daughter and one of the Scouts (played by Karen Hayward and Jared Gilman).
We also get some small but well-done roles by Bob Balaban, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel and Jason Schwartzman. Talk about an overload of acting prowess—and it’s earned.
This is a coming-of-age tale revolving around the young “love affair” of the two kids. They started writing each other the previous summer and planned a lavish nature-bound vacation together as only twelve-year-olds can.
As with all Anderson films, if campy, quirky films are not your style avoid this like the plague. It’s wonderfully doused from top-to-bottom with all manner of the offbeat. The styling is immediately identifiable as typical Anderson. Every location, every screen pan, the color palette, the dialog and the soundtrack all tell you what you’re seeing is uniquely different and here it all works beautifully. The interaction between young Sam and Suzy when they first venture forward physically is, for me, and instant classic scene. It’s one that almost anyone can identify with that can remember what it was like to be twelve. Their story is cute, honestly funny and nostalgically touching.
How can that be a recipe for a bad dish? It isn’t, but like caviar, it’s not a dish for everyone.