directed by Wes Anderson
The haters will have you believe that a Wes Anderson film is nothing more than a kind of sausage made from charming snark, vintage clothing, tight, symmetrical framing, a member of the Pallana family and/or Bill Murray, yellow title cards and brit pop. Wes simply adds the ingredients in varying quantities and gets to cranking. And yes, the haters are correct in their own snide way, especially with years of strong evidence to support their discontent. Wes Anderson is an auteur filmmaker with a style you can instantly tell, lovingly crafting such ornate and affectionate tales of dysfunction, heartache and confusion with a very distinctive hand. So, if you dislike Wes Anderson as a filmmaker and have written him off as a sausage maker, then this review is not for you. For the rest of you, be assured that Moonrise Kingdom finds Wes Anderson as much at the top of his game and as warmly devoted to his iconic brand of lovable pomp as ever. Anderson’s lucky number seven tells the story of two twelve year olds, each an outsider in their own way, who run away from home (well, boy scout camp, in his case) to test their love against the elements. The cast is a little too chock full of stars (Harvey Keitel as the Hullabaloo scoutmaster was a waste of talent), but it doesn’t dull the delicate sting of young love, the gloom of a loveless marriage (bravo, France McDormand and Bill Murray!) or the quiet ache of a life lived alone (Bruce Willis, you were wonderful). The film belongs to the amazing Jared Gilman (who embodies the kid I presume Wes wishes he was when he was twelve) and Kara Hayward (who embodies the girl I presume Wes would have been in love with when he was twelve), who find a way to make their love seem timeless, ageless. Say what you will about Anderson’s style, his stories are told with care and attention, and Moonrise is as precious an example of his grand thesis as any of his works.