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Wes Anderson (Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Royal Tenenbaums) comedy set in the summer of ’65 where a small community is mobilised in search of two runaway 12-year-old lovebirds. The all-star cast includes Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray.
A quiet community resides on an island off the coast of New England. After falling in love, former Khaki Scout and orphan Sam (Jared Gilman) runs away with forlorn Suzy (Kara Hayward) into the island's wilderness. With the local sheriff (Willis), the girl’s parents (Murray and Frances McDormand), Social Services (Tilda Swinton) and a Khaki Scout troop leader (Norton) all trying to stabilise the situation, the search threatens to become a disaster when a violent storm brews off-shore.
Rating: M contains sexual references
Writer/director Wes Anderson's aesthetic leanings are difficult to define (Retro cute? Solemn whimsy? Painterly theatrics?) but very recognisable. His films are all composed with the precision of a Swiss watch, but they never completely lose sight of their humanity.
Amongst all the elegantly affected framing and disarmingly effective music cues, the neuroses and desires of actual human beings shine through. His characters rarely behave like anyone who actually exists, but they remain relatable portraits.
About half-way through Moonrise Kingdom, I feared Anderson's dedication to visual and aural splendour had overcome his ability to tell a grounded story.
That's not to say I wasn't enjoying myself. I'm all for film that are just about the aesthetics, and this felt like the 300 of art house flicks. Shallow, but a joy to behold.
As the film approached the conclusion however, a sense of underlying emotional richness began to shine through, and I was able to embrace the story on all levels. Maybe it was the youth of the leads that initially kept me at arm's length – no kids have ever talked or behaved like these two do.
Bill Murray and Frances McDormand make the absolute most of their relatively brief screen time, but the real revelation in the film's cast (beyond the insanely talented young leads) was Bruce Willis as the local Sheriff. I can't remember the last time he was this good.
As the most Wes Anderson-ish film Wes Anderson has ever made, Moonrise Kingdom won't convert any naysayers to the cause, but fans of his work will have a ball.
Chicago Sun-Times (Roger Ebert)
Little White Lies (UK)
New York Times
Time Out New York
Total Film (UK)
His best since Rushmore.
This is probably Wes Anderson's best film since Rushmore. This is defiantly an excellent film that should be on everyones must watch list for the year. Having some excellent performances from the adult cast of Bill Murray, Edward Norton and Bruce Willis's strange role as Captain Sharp. But the real stand out of the film is the performance of the young cast members Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman.
A defiant must see.
What a charmer
Loved this movie from beginning to end. Loved how the story line got more and more outrageous and implausible as it went on. Casting was prefect, story was superb. A must see movie if you love Wes Anderson or just love quirky movies.
Manifest for the good in humans.
It didn't quite work for me but I admire anything different.
A Quiet Little Masterpiece.
Wes Anderson serves up a visual feast with this whimsical tale. Some might find it over
art-directed but for me it felt like a cross between a movie and a story book, a little charmer.
Ed Norton's chain-smoking scout leader was my favourite character in an impressive list of quirky oddballs. I think most people would find something to like about this little film.
A much needed film
Moonrise Kingdom has all the quirk Wes Anderson films are famed for, and a sweetness about it that manages to capture a magic, and innocence, of youth which seems sadly missing from cinema, these days, with its preoccupation with extremes. This is a quiet, understated, film that seems to hit every note right. It never feels patronizing to children, the way many movies do - I think Anderson may remember childhood a little more honestly than most other filmmakers do. It's this understanding that distinguishes it and makes it so special, I felt the film's greatest strength was the way it built a bridge between adults and children that will make it a fantastic experience for everyone who sees it.
Children's story for adults
This is quite an unusual, quirky, film - a kind of children's story for adults (though you could safely take your junior teens). The story deals with two 12 year olds who run away together and the ensuing manhunt for them. Set in 1965, those of you who grew up through that period will remember a time of innocence and the movie reflects that. The 2 main characters are superb and the movie is rounded out by Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton and Harvey Keitel. Well worth watching. 4 stars.
Heartfelt & Whimsical
Wes Anderson can be an acquired taste and I wouldn't say I'm a huge fan of his films but this one just shot into my top ten fave movies ever
Quirky & beautifully shot this film is both melancholic and hopeful. Many a teenager feels an outcast and this movie brings to the screen two great characters who we fall for and root for all the way.
Great casting and actors who are often seen in much more prominent role all help build this story with humor and understated grace.
Not being a Wes Anderson afficianado, could quite get into it it. Sorry.
Beautiful, but forgettable
The plot is simple; two pre-pubescent children run away from home and Scout camp respectively, while their family and friends search for them.
The children's antics mirror the freedom that the adults yearn for (particularly Frances McDormand, who is dedicated to a loveless marriage). Edward Norton's washed up Scout Leader was great. His zeal for his scout master role illustrates how so many adults strive to retain or relive their youth.
Suzy, moody and heavily eyelined, is reminiscent of a foxier young Margot Tenenbaum. Her romance with Sam is counterintuitive. They are too young to be in love or lust, but seek solace and comfort in their mutual unhappiness and dramatic natures.
Some critics have complained that this film is an incomplete view of the world. I personally enjoy this characteristic of Anderson's films. I was almost always aware that I was watching a movie, but not in a negative way. It was like admiring a great piece of art. This movie is evocative but unrealistic vision of young love.
The plot is ridiculous, but what else do you expect from a Wes Anderson film. The cinematography (Robert Yeoman) and score (Alexandre Desplat) enveloped me. I wanted to be a part of that small New England town, while being keenly aware that I am not, nor ever can be, in that world. The screenplay, written by Anderson and Roman Coppola, was sufficiently quirky, but the ending faltered in an overly dramatic fashion.
Ultimately, I judge a movie by how long it stays with me. Will I be thinking about this movie for days after seeing it? Unfortunately not. This movie is a joyous romp through the stylised, romantic childhood of our dreams. But like childhood, the details are easily forgotten.