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