Reel Reviews | Moonrise Kingdom

by Tim Gordon

A pair of young lovers flees their New England island town, prompting a local search party led by the Sheriff and the girl’s parents to fan out to find them in Wes Anderson’s offbeat comedy, Moonrise Kingdom.

Eclectic director Wes Anderson creates one of the oddest and most peculiar love stories of the year with this story based in 1965 using the backdrop of a pair of young lovers, Suzy and Sam (newcomers Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman) who flee their scenic island community, prompting a bizarre search designed by Suzy’s parents (an adulterous attorney (Frances McDormand) and unaware attorney husband (Bill Murray)) trying to keep them apart. Suzy (Hayward) is a quirky, reclusive young teen who loves to read and a misunderstood but tender pariah scout, Sam (Gilman) who are attracted to each other and come hell or high water are determined to be together.

Narrated with much aplomb by Bob Balaban, Not since the great Orson Welles in The Magnificient Ambersons has anyone put as much detail on screen as in Anderson’s Kingdom. As with his earlier films, The Royal Tennenbaums, Rushmore and Bottle Rocket, Anderson boasts an A-list cast featuring a mix of actors that he’s worked with in the past (Murray, McDormand and Jason Schwartzman) and some new faces who love his material (Bruce Willis, Ed Norton, Harvey Keitel and Tilda Swinton). His films are definitely an acquired taste and are not for everyone but what Anderson ends up with is a film that doesn’t go down well initially but after careful reflection, you understand the beauty and the unconventional comedic moments that make this strange tale work.

There are different strokes for different folks but if you love Anderson’s work, this one’s for you.

Grade: A-