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July 21, 2012

5

Capsule Movie Review – Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

by HELEN GEIB

The crucial point is that they’re 12 years old. Two representative scenes: 1) As an expression of his love, Sam gives Suzy a pair of earrings and they pierce her ears with fishhooks so she can wear them. 2) The boys of Sam’s scout troop debate the moral rightness of their actions over a card game, money on the table, in a rickety treehouse built too high for safety. The childlike purity and innocence of their feelings is endearing. The adult-like nature of those feelings heralds the imminent, poignant end of childhood. Their unwitting parody of grown-up behavior is comical.

One of Moonrise Kingdom‘s charming points is its multifaceted homage to old-fashioned children’s books spinning tales of adventure and fantasy, most charmingly expressed by Suzy’s reading passages aloud from her favorite books by the light of the runaways’ campfire. That this particular children’s story was made for adults is signaled by the theme of transience and the lightly worn nostalgia (the setting is a bucolic New England island in the mid-1960s- in modern American mythology, the end days of a more innocent era). More concretely, it shows in the sympathetic attention paid to the adult characters; the noteworthy cast includes Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Bill Murray, Harvey Keitel, Jason Schwartzman, and Tilda Swinton. The connecting thread is the quirky sensibility of writer-director Wes Anderson. A defining characteristic is a playful humor in the dialogue, visuals, delicately stylized performances, and jumble of narrative techniques complicating a simple plot.

4 stars

Double Feature It With…: The Royal Tenenbaums for a double-barreled Wes Anderson examination of dysfunctional nuclear family


5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jul 23 2012

    I love The Royal Tenenbaums; it’s a great suggestion. :O)

    I’d also heard nothing by high praise for Moonrise Kingdom an can’t wait to watch it. I know that not wanting to see it on the big screen may seem a tad pretentious, but I’ve grown to prefer watching movies at home on my 42″ plasma. I also believe that movies like Moonrise Kingdom will definitely look superior on Blu-ray (than in the theatres) so truly I can’t wait to see it when it comes out to video! :O)

  2. Jul 23 2012

    Not everyone appreciates the trademark Anderson quirkiness, but for those who do I can’t imagine not liking MOONRISE KINGDOM. His best movie is still THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS though.

    You know where I stand on seeing movies in the theater, so I won’t repeat myself. :-)

  3. Jul 24 2012

    No need for that. :O)

  4. Aaron Ploof
    Jul 26 2012

    In Wes Anderson’s universe, Children hold more wisdom than adults. :-)

    I like that kind of universe, because it’s the one we live in. ^_^

    An absolute great film!

  5. Jul 30 2012

    The adults are all suffering identity crises, of one degree of severity or another. (“What do you do?” / “I’m a math teacher. No, I’m a scout leader.”) The children haven’t (yet) learned self doubt. The final scene with Sam and Suzy is hopeful for their future, at least.

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