While I was desperately trying to strategically time my coughing fits to avoid missing the subtle gems hidden in the dialogue of Wes Anderson’s newest movie, Moonrise Kingdom, the wife of the man next to me leaned over and whispered – “This is funny!” To which he immediately responded – “This is weird.” Somewhere, Wes Anderson is smiling.
Set on an island off the coast of New England in the 1960s, Moonrise Kingdom is a story of the love between Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward), the troubled daughter of two unhappily married lawyers – Laura (Frances McDormand) and Walt Bishop (Bill Murray); and least favorite Khaki Scout Sam (Jared Gilman), orphan, currently at scout camp for the summer. After a lengthy pen pal relationship following a chance meeting in a dressing room for a church play, the young couple decide to declare their love for each other and elope. Upon discovering Sam’s disappearance, Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton) reaches out to ineffectual island sheriff Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis) to begin the manhunt. Captain Sharp’s search brings him to Suzy’s house, where to the surprise of Laura and Walt Bishop; they find Suzy missing as well. On the brink of an anticipated record breaking storm, all (ir)responsible factions, including the other young scouts, join together to bring the children back to safety.
our thoughts after the jump!
Moonrise Kingdom is Wes Anderson’s seventh full length film that he has written, directed, and produced. The young actors and actress do well to hold their own, despite going up against some of the regular Wes Anderson home-run hitters in the supporting cast. Anderson’s deadpan wit and knack for highlighting human imperfections is easily picked up on and can be re-enjoyed on a second or third viewing. Another charming feature of Moonrise Kingdom is that Anderson and his young stars do a great job of capturing the innocence, imagination, and awkwardness of being a pre-teen. The grandiose gesture of running away for love and spending your lives going on adventures together was heartwarming and left the viewers nostalgic for simpler times.
The biggest knock I have on Moonrise Kingdom was that it kind of…well… boring at times. I didn’t necessarily find myself fidgety or eyeing my watch, but if it weren’t for the dialogue and some of the more goofy scenes, the movie itself was kind of lackluster. I know it sounds weird, and maybe we were expecting too much, but there is something about this film that left us disappointed. Fans of Anderson’s other work will be pleased that his idiosyncratic style is noticeable throughout the film, but new comers might want to wait on this movie. I can see it being one of those movies that people Netflix but never get around to watching.
The Kibitzers gives Moonrise Kingdom 3 out 5. Like any Wes Anderson movie, the more you notice, the better it is, but we won’t blame if you walk away feeling slightly disappointed.
Moonrise Kingdom will be in select theaters beginning May 25th.