Released May 25, 2012
Directed By Wes Anderson
Starring Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Kara Hayward, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, J. Gilman & more
Moonrise Kingdom is a quirky comedy-drama film directed by Wes Anderson starring Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Kara Hayward, Jared Gilman, and many more. The film was written by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola. It debuted at the Cannes Film Festival on May 16, 2012, and was released to limited theaters in the U.S. on May 25, 2012. This is somewhere in the ballpark of the sixth movie in which Anderson and Murray have collaborated.
Moonrise Kingdom is set in the year 1965, and centers around a young orphan boy named Sam Shakusky (Gilman) who is a Khaki Scout at a summer camp on an island called New Penzance. The previous summer, he met a young girl named Suzy Bishop (Hayward) at a church play. She lives on the island with her parents, Walt (Murray) and Laura (McDormand). Sam and Suzy decided to meet each other the next summer in a specific location to set out on an adventure to a secret cove on the island, in which they name “Moonrise Kingdom”.
Not many movies come along these days that have such a profound impact on you after viewing. Moonrise Kingdom, in a single word, is marvelous. Wes Anderson just can’t do wrong nowadays. The guy continues to make high quality films that have depth and purpose. This time is no different. Moonrise is one of his best ever, arguably his best of all. The film captures young love at its finest, in its purest form. This undeniable charm and display of emotions shown by Moonrise is absolutely beautiful. The characters of Sam and Suzy are obviously meant to be together, and that’s precisely what they want, no matter what the adults around them say. Even though the two are emotionally troubled, they are significantly smarter than those around them, and it makes things quite interesting as the movie progresses. The film captures the innocence of youth. It’s pure and it’s beautiful.
The acting in Moonrise is top-notch. Gilman and Hayward steal the show, even with Murray and Willis present, whos roles are undermined. The kids are young, smart, and in love. Maybe they don’t understand love yet, but they clearly love each other as individuals, since they can relate to one another so well. The emotional depth here is gorgeous, especially in scenes where the two look at each other in the eyes. Even the children in the camp are great, who are helped tremendously by the finely written script. What’s most impressive are the interactions between the adults and children. The adults are constantly trying to figure the two troublesome kids out, but at the same time, they themselves are poignant in their own minds. The sense of jealousy and frustration are in the eyes of the adult characters, because the children’s relationships are better than their own. Like I said before, the kids steal the show.
The script is whimsical and witty. The dialogue is gorgeous. Moonrise’s words are another reason it soars. The dialogue makes 12 year olds seem like geniuses. It makes 40 year olds seem like idiots. Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola hit a home run with the writing aspect here, making for another pleasant, signature Anderson experience. What ‘s almost as impressive is the unique camera work in Moonrise. It’s steady and subtle. For example, the opening scene is in the middle of a house. It pans side to side, room to room, automatically getting the viewers attention, in a rare way. It’s just another small piece to the wonderful Moonrise puzzle. The film has its funny moments, which are placed perfectly. Each time a comical scene comes along, it manages to be genuinely funny, and moves forward at a perfect pace. The special effects in Moonrise are cheap-looking, but it’s done on purpose and it works in the film’s favor, not against it.
Moonrise is a sheer pleasure to watch, from start to finish. The film’s beautiful story and characters are unforgettable. Its core meaning is true and the production is crafted with care. When you think something is going to happen that will ruin the film, the exact opposite happens. The film boasts spectacular acting, a witty and impressive script, perfect pacing, genuine hilarity, emotional depth, and other subtleties, making it the best movie of 2012 thus far, hands down. Like a Van Gogh or Picasso painting, Moonrise Kingdom is a masterpiece.
5 out of 5