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Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom

86% Liked It
liked it

Moonrise Kingdom

Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray

Set on an island off the coast of New England in the summer of 1965, Moonrise Kingdom tells the story of two twelve-year-olds who fall in love, make a secret pact, and run away together into the wilde... read more read more...rness. As various authorities try to hunt them down, a violent storm is brewing off-shore -- and the peaceful island community is turned upside down in more ways than anyone can handle. Bruce Willis plays the local sheriff. Edward Norton is a Khaki Scout troop leader. Bill Murray and Frances McDormand portray the young girl's parents. The cast also includes Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, and Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward as the boy and girl. -- (C) Focus Features

Id: 11161664

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Recent Reviews

  • April 11, 2014
    After a second viewing: I think I was too ready to love this movie. Great cast, great style, and sweet story of young love, but there's also a "same old Wes Anderson" feeling to it; it's almost belaboured. Despite Bill Murray and Frances McDormand, you rarely laugh out loud, and ... read moreit's almost played too straight: trying to be too sweet.

    Anderson makes unique films, and I do like them all, but he may be getting stale. He hasn't blown me away since The Royal Tenenbaums. I have great expectations for The Grand Budapest Hotel, and in a way, I think he needs to knock that one out of the park in order to keep making the kinds of movies he wants to make. I'm starting to see a Tim Burton career parallel, in which he ends up only getting work from Disney. It wouldn't be the worst think in the world, but it would lead to compromises in his films' most valuable aspect: their aesthetic.
  • July 23, 2013
    Probably my favorite film of the year (and what a good movie year it was!). Director Wes Anderson crafts a film that has a heart as big as its brain, creating a sweet story of adolescent love. It's Anderson's most delightfully quirky, toning down his usual sardonic but keeping th... read moree essence of an "Anderson" film. His shots seem compulsively symmetrical, the production design a matter of balance that feels quaint instead of off-putting. I want more tales of Suzy and Sam, but know I shouldn't get any- and that's the mark of a timeless film.
  • July 6, 2013
    Wes Anderson, master of the aesthetically colorful, whimsical, sixties' tinged madness, outdoes even himself with a trope set in the very decade he draws from the most. Right down to the period clothing, sets, and a clickety typewriter to boot, this reeks of its time period, but ... read moreat the same time it isn't mashed into your face. The setting for the film is much more magical and whimsical than it is cloaked in nostalgia. Set on an island that cannot be reached except by ferry and plane, making cars essentially useless, it has an otherness to it even while retaining the same base characteristics of Anderson's usual troupe of characters. Time period only lends interesting visuals, and doesn't ultimately define the characters. All characters are quirky, especially the troop that includes the lead character, Sam (Gilman), who are all instinctive about their natural environment, and testy about procedure, and yet are represented as normal kids rebutting the outsider. Even the troop leader, played by Edward Norton, thinks that Sam is an eccentric, and an oddity, so when Sam runs away to be with a girl who he has met once and wrote for a year, he is incensed, and yet begins to become thoughtful about the boy. The entire film follows the irregular course that these young lovers take, both odd to the outside world but much more mature than they're given credit for. Besides the love story there are the stories of the inhabitants of the island, including a police officer, the troop leader, and the family of the girl. Though the film is one of a tragic romance between young people, a great coming of age story, and of course a tale of an adventurous hero keeping the wolves at bay, it is also funny, sweet, and soft spoken. The young couple are really interesting, and in every scene they try to stay eternally bound and yet are kept apart by the obvious age issue. Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward are very talented and yet are amateurs, so they keep the innocence of their age and yet bring forth the understanding of young, ambitious teenagers. The one point that irritates me is that the story of the family isn't well told, the characters are a bit flat, and the relationship between the mother and the policeman is the most boring aspect of the entire movie and yet is supposed to yield some untold insight into the lives of the island residents. It felt so pointless, except to show his willingness to look towards the future, and that's barely alluded to. This is another Anderson best, but compared to the detailed lives of his past characters, these only sometimes get the briefest of introductions.
  • June 2, 2013
    Delightful odd-wit and tasty artful cinematography flow through this nice little flick about young love. Probably Wes Anderson's most heart-warming tale yet.
  • April 12, 2013
    Weird little artsy fartsy type movie...the kind that critics just love!
  • April 8, 2013
    This is simply a sweet story beautifully told! I highly recommend!
  • April 7, 2013
    Pretty sweet and charming.

    Good movie! Moonrise Kingdom is that place of beauty and passion that we all have been in at least once in our lives, the one place on earth where we believe that anything is possible. It has since been lost, but it persists in our memories in moments ... read moreof nostalgia. First and foremost I will say that I think this movie is definitely a kids romance, just without the cheesy stuff you see in other such children's fare like the wimpy kid franchise, and for the adults it has a subplot dealing with the parents and other eccentric characters of the town. The driving force of the film is the young cast, Jared Hilman, who I think looks like a miniature Rainn Wilson, and Kara Hayward are electric together on screen, and their quirky eccentricities are perfectly matched, the chemistry between the two just lights up the screen and you're rooting for them from the get go. It rewards those with the notion to read in between the lines, embraces the beauty of a natural setting, and cracks awkwardly funny stone-faced jokes at the most unexpected moments. The mood is decidedly childish, both in subject and in perspective, but for the most part that works to put the audience in the right mindset, rather than dumbing things down. It does occasionally overstretch itself, though, particularly as events begin to climax and believability abruptly becomes less of a priority. If you've enjoyed Anderson's earlier pictures there's plenty to like here, although it doesn't even begin to rival Rushmore or The Royal Tenenbaums and I was surprised by the lack of a matching soundtrack. Non-fans should continue to keep their distance.

    Set on an island off the coast of New England in the 1960s, as a young boy and girl fall in love they are moved to run away together. Various factions of the town mobilize to search for them and the town is turned upside down which might not be such a bad thing.
  • February 11, 2013
    Moonrise Kingdom tells a thoughtful tale of innocence through dynamic direction, vibrant atmosphere, and charming performances.
  • February 7, 2013
    Set on an island off the coast of New England in 1965, this is the tale of two misfit 12 year-olds who fall in love, and make a pact to run away with one another, with various parties in pursuit of them, with all of this taking place in the wake of an oncoming hurricane.

    Wes And... read moreerson has done it again. Not only is this a wry, magical, and whimsical piece, it's undoubtedly the most Wes Anderson-y Wes Anderson film ever, or at least up to this point. Many of his trademarks, especially where style is concerned, are present, and what we get is a nice look at first love from two people who are in love, but don't seem like it.

    Sam is a renegade Khaki Scout (an obvious mock Boy Scout), who is hated by all the others in his troop because he doesn't fit in, mostly because he is quite, morose, and an orphan. Suzy is very much like him,. She's got emotional issues, is forlorn, and resents her mother, who she knows is having an affair with the lone cop who patrols their island. The two met quite by chance, and became close pen pals. When the story begins, we see them already underway with a pact to run away in the wilderness with one another.

    Some might say that the two kid actors aren't good, that they give flat performances, and are really stiff. You could say that, and yes, while it couldbe true, I think it works. The way the two kids react to being in love is appropriate given the type of people they are, and the strong performances from these two newcomers brings this odd, but cute relationship to life. The film is whimsical, but it's also quite deadpan, and perhaps a tad dark, but even then still quirky.

    As good as the two leads are, they maybe get overshadowed by the stellar supporting cast of veterans actors that include Frances McDormand and Bill Murray as Suzy's parents, Bruce Willis as the cop, Edward Norton as the scoutmaster, and briefer roles filled by Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, and Harvey Keitel. And then we get Bob Balaban as the delightful narrator.

    The film is absolutely gorgeous. The sets are great, the cinematography is very painterly and superb, the color scheme is bright and classic Anderson, and the period details are phenomenal. The music is likewise very enjoyable, and, while I dug the score a lot, I could have used more British Invasion era tunes.

    I'm raving on and on about this, and, while I absolutely loved it, it did leave me somewhat cold at first, but I contemplated it more, and then eventually I was able to digest the rich material and appreciate it at a deeper level. As much as I loved Skyfall and The Avengers, I think this is basically my belated pick for best film of 2012. Definitely go watch it.
  • January 27, 2013
    Auteurs are by their very nature divisive. When someone has such a strong, individual and instantly recognisable style, it is bound to generate more extreme emotional reactions than someone who has one or more feet firmly in the mainstream. It is often the case that auteurs are o... read morenly truly understood and celebrated after they're dead, with Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Ken Russell all being snubbed or written off at some stage in their careers.

    It is with this benefit of hindsight that we approach the work of Wes Anderson. He is unquestionably one of the most distinctive filmmakers of his generation, with a series of unique offerings under his belt and a glittering reputation among hard-core film fans. His talent is so on show in aspects of Moonrise Kingdom that any negative response could be written off as an inability to recognise greatness. But whether through my limitations or the film's, Moonrise Kingdom doesn't live up to its hype, being visually beautiful but too arch and distant to be engaging.

    It's worth reiterating just how good Moonrise Kingdom looks. At a time when American cinema is increasingly homogenous and visually lazy, Anderson's film looks and feels like a work of intricate, painstaking craft. He gets a perfect balance between recreating the details of a period and putting his own distinctive stamp on it, giving us buildings, landscapes and costumes that we think we recognise, but may be entirely new. While indie films are stereotyped as having grainy, washed-out colour palettes, Anderson's film is full of rich spring and summer tones, with pinks and yellow so bright and fulsome you'd swear they were made out of marzipan.

    The story of Moonrise Kingdom reflects its period setting of the mid-1960s very well. It draws on the deep well of stories about lovers running away and resists situating it in the counter-culture movements that were sweeping America at the same time. There is an endearing innocence to both the film and its central protagonists, who are deeply in love without really knowing what love is or what it entails in the long run.

    The disappearance of the two children and the attempts to get them back is an interesting way of reflecting the fears of 1960s parents towards their children. The innocence of their relationship is counterpointed by the feeling of a community being rent asunder, with all the locals' dirty secrets and shortcomings being thrust out into the open. Unlike many 1960s and 1970s films which use children as a symbol or agent of evil, the central characters in Moonrise Kingdom are completely well-meaning, only resorting to violence to defend what they care about, and with the adults seeming a whole lot more screwed up.

    There are a number of lovely moments in the film which are funny, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. A great deal of the humour comes from pockets of black comedy which move the film from Badlands to Bonnie and Clyde, such as the scene where a scout loses his kidney in a fight with Sam. Other times it is a good visual joke, like the papier maché replica of Suzy left in her bed by the scouts. Some of the supporting cast are also funny just for how bizarre they are, the best example being Tilda Swinton's uptight Social Services (yes, that's her actual name).

    Much like Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson does have a knack of getting actors to give performances that no-one would have expected from them. Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward are both great in their first screen roles, with the latter bearing a striking resemblance to Scarlett Johannson in certain scenes. Bill Murray often plays the downbeat grump in his later work, but here he gets to let rip with a number of terrific tantrums counterpointed by middle-aged mumbling. Bruce Willis brings a more humanistic quality to his downbeat, brow-beaten style of character, being closer to his work in Twelve Monkeys but with relational rather than existential angst. And Edward Norton, so often a tough and aggressive screen presence, completely convinces at the utterly inept but ultimately heroic scout master.

    So far Moonrise Kingdom is shaping up to a triumph of craft and character, being yet another feather in Anderson's ever-growing cap. But for all his hard work up to this point, and all the goodwill we have towards him, the film has a number of problems which ultimately tarnish the end result. To be specific, there are a number of small problems which emanate from one really big problem. And that big problem is: we just don't care about anyone on screen.

    There is a fundamental difference in drama between empathy and sympathy. In order for a drama to be fully compelling, it is not enough for us just to understand how the characters function on a technical level; we have to want good things to happen to them to such an extent that we invest in them emotionally. The problem is that Anderson doesn't want us to invest in his characters: he wants us to study them and be amused by them, but he gives no real incentive to actually like them.

    As much as I praised Anderson as a craftsman, this feeling is exacerbated by the way and the extent to which the film feels 'designed' As good and as charismatic as the performers are, there is a feeling of artifice to the whole proceedings, as though they were figures in a giant snow globe that Anderson is shaking up and asking us to watch. The recreation of the period isn't warm and nostalgic like you would expect for such a heart-warming story: it feels too hermetically sealed, too perfect to be anything other than a thought experiment whose participants are to be observed.

    As distinctive and memorable as Anderson's characters are, they are also underwritten insofar as they could be reduced down to a single quirk or joke each. Frances McDormand's mother has only one distinctive feature - using a megaphone to call her children - and the film doesn't develop her alleged affair into something deep and meaningful. Harvey Keitel is enjoyable as the brash Commander Pierce, but beyond playing to our expectations and giving us a quick laugh at his pomposity, there's not a lot else to him. All the characters are written with a sense of ironic detachment, with Anderson and Roman Coppola being greatly amused by their quirks but not going the extra mile to turn the quirks into something more developed.

    Even if we overlook the characters, there are other problems with Moonrise Kingdom which also betray a shortfall in effort expended. The film skims over a lot of potentially interesting subtexts that could have really cemented it as something more than just a quirky story of lovers on the run. There are numerous instances of Biblical imagery in the film, with the main characters meeting at a production of Noah's Flood and the film's climax involving a terrible storm (at a push, you could even view the lovers as Adam and Eve). All the imagery is there but Anderson either isn't aware of it or isn't interested in unleashing its full potential.

    The same goes for the theme of the adults in the town being more screwed up than their children. It's floated occasionally in some of the quieter moments, where Anderson gives us lingering close-ups of characters looking sadly into middle distance. But there is less attempt than you might expect to tie the adults' predicament to the emotional development of their children, until the film pulls an unconvincing ending out of nowhere and everything goes back to square one. While you can applaud Anderson for not being predictable, the film would have had much more impact if it ended with Sam being struck by lightning and then not surviving. Certainly that would have felt less clunky than all the various storylines colliding in the church, like the ending of O Brother, Where Art Thou?.

    Moonrise Kingdom is a decent but frustrating effort from Anderson, displaying all that is good and bad about his style of filmmaking. His distinctive visual style and approach to characters demands to be celebrated, but at the same time there is far too much detachment from said characters for the film to work. Throw in the various missed opportunities in the narrative and you have a film which promises much but delivers on disappointingly little. Anderson's many fans will be satisfied, but newcomers to his work should start elsewhere.

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