Moonrise Kingdom, movie (2012)  » Movies  »
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  • I highly enjoyed Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
  • Joining them is a great supporting cast, filled with some of the best acting talent today

    • by Mackenzie Lambert


      Wes Anderson, as a director, has a tendency to be too quirky for his own good. After two great films with Bottle Rocket and Rushmore, his films became inconsistent. I’m not a big fan of The Royal Tenenbaums. I highly enjoyed Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. With 2012’s Moonrise Kingdom, Anderson returns to form with a charming story that isn’t overtaken by its eccentric tendencies.

      Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward) are two adolescents who are misfits in their respective social circles. Sam is a Khaki scout that is often bullied by the other scouts. Suzy feels alienated from her own family. After meeting backstage at a

      school play, the pair begin to fall for one another. One day, they decide to run away together.

      With the youths missing, the New England island of New Penzance is in a panic. Scout Master Randy Ward (Edward Norton) calls for a search and rescue, which the other scouts see as a chance for them to hurt Sam more. The parents of Suzy (Frances McDormand and Billy Murray) go to great lengths to find them, with the help of Police Captain Duffy Sharp (Bruce Willis).

      During their escapade, Sam and Suzy fall deeply in love. They do show intimacy, yet its done with reverence without becoming exploitative. The innocence of the children remains intact. When they are found and separated, this makes their bond all the stronger.

      For a period, Wes Anderson gave his films too much of an oddball nature, which turned off audiences. With Moonrise Kingdom, Anderson makes a stylistic comeback by putting the characters before their unusual characteristics. Much like Jason Schwartzman’s Max from Rushmore or Bill Murray’s Steve Zissou, the personality of the characters brings in the audience.

      The pair of Gilman and Hayward are wonderful and show much maturity in their roles, and yet this is both of their first feature film debut. Gilman plays Sam with such naivety and earnestness that he doesn’t grate on my nerves ...

      • Moonrise Kingdom, movie (2012)
      like other child actors. Hayward is a surprisingly strong female lead, displaying strength and determination often missing in female characters her age. While they are young, they are more than able to carry the majority of the film’s weight.

      Joining them is a great supporting cast, filled with some of the best acting talent today. Edward Norton has his moments as Randy Ward. McDormand and Murray are fantastic as Suzy’s parents. Tilda Swinton, Bob Balaban, and Harvey Keitel are amusing in their bit roles.

      One stand out performance has to be Bruce Willis as Captain Sharp. You can’t help but be taken in by his character. There is a

      tenderness that is absent in action films like Red, Cop Out, and Good Day to Die Hard. In Moonrise Kingdom, we see some of his best work since his films for M. Night Shyamalan, The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable. If quitting action films makes way for really good acting by Willis, then do so for both the sake of himself and the sake of the audience.

      If you’re one of the many audience members who felt disenfranchised by recent Wes Anderson films, give Moonrise Kingdom a watch. Everything you liked about Rushmore and Life Aquatic is in this film. It manages to balance a proper story with the whacky nature of its characters.

Andrew Leith says :

I can’t believe you do not have positive, appreciative comments thought your review was great, and I think I will check out this movie. Great job, keep up the good work.
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