Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

Moonrise Kingdom
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Mild violence, sexual references and coarse language

Director: Wes Anderson
Actors: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Bob Balaban, Harvey Keitel

Set on an island off the coast of New England in the summer of 1965, Moonrise Kingdom tells the story of two 12-year olds who fall in love, make a secret pact, and flee from their New England town; which causes a local search party to fan out and find them.

DVD
Status: QuickPick
Run time: 94mins
Origin: UNITED STATES
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Audio Formats: English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
Kids on the run
by Simon Miraudo,

Moonrise Kingdom is Wes Anderson's most mannered and intricately manicured film to date; an impressive feat in the shadow of 2009’s painstakingly animated stop-motion feature Fantastic Mr. Fox. It's easy to fixate on the delicate art decoration and cutesy costume design and Robert Yeoman's precise cinematography and Alexandre Desplat’s delightful score - and also necessary, because these elements are fabulous - but it would be unfair to suggest Moonrise Kingdom is only those things. It's so much more. The picture is easily Anderson's finest and funniest love story; imbued with real pathos and littered with wonderful ancillary characters. Young leads Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward give two of the best turns of the year, and rival the subjects of Michael Haneke's Amour for the title of 2012's...

Moonrise Kingdom is Wes Anderson's most mannered and intricately manicured film to date; an impressive feat in the shadow of 2009’s painstakingly animated stop-motion feature Fantastic Mr. Fox. It's easy to fixate on the delicate art decoration and cutesy costume design and Robert Yeoman's precise cinematography and Alexandre Desplat’s delightful score - and also necessary, because these elements are fabulous - but it would be unfair to suggest Moonrise Kingdom is only those things. It's so much more. The picture is easily Anderson's finest and funniest love story; imbued with real pathos and littered with wonderful ancillary characters. Young leads Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward give two of the best turns of the year, and rival the subjects of Michael Haneke's Amour for the title of 2012's Most Overwhelming Romantic. Fear not, those who winced at that comparison: this one has a far happier ending.

Twelve-year old orphan and social pariah Sam Shakusky (Gilman) flees his Boy Scout troop and embarks on a great voyage with depressed, violent outcast Suzy Bishop (Hayward) on their island home of New Penzance. The year is 1965, says our cartographic narrator (Bob Balaban), and a storm of biblical proportions is a 'coming. It is with great urgency, then, that Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton) and Suzy's lawyer parents, Walt (Bill Murray) and Laura (Frances McDormand), call upon the island's only police officer, Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis), to save the kids. The kids, however, are doing just fine. Sam's rather adept at foraging and making a home in the wilderness. Suzy is happy to be freed of her parents, who struggle to understand their daughter's issues and instead bicker in separate beds. They share their first kiss on the coast, after dancing elatedly to Suzy's record player in their unmentionables. First go their clothes, then follows their innocence.

It's not just that Sam and Suzy have a shared disdain for their elders; they seem to understand and care deeply for one another. She doesn't mind that he wets the bed, and he is impressed rather than terrified by her rage-streak (a showdown with some renegade scouts proves her to be a ferocious warrior). When they decide to make it official and wed, it's not an outrageous decision, especially when compared with the actions of the hangdog adults that populate their world. Laura Bishop is sleeping with Captain Sharp; lonely Scout Master Ward considers the allegiance of his underlings to be more valuable than even his real job; the comically single-minded Social Services (Tilda Swinton) wants to lock Sam away at a juvenile refuge; Walt Bishop hides from his wife, and angrily chops down trees, shirtless, with a bottle of wine in hand.

Laura rationalises her loveless pact with Walt by telling him that they're all the children have. "It's not enough," he replies. Despite it being a selfish response, he's right. They refer to each other as ‘Counsellor,’ and connect solely on the basis of their shared knowledge of the law. No favours are being done for the offspring at the Bishop household. Suzy certainly didn't learn love from her parents; she learns it at the little beach-side retreat her and Sam christen 'Moonrise Kingdom.' This is a movie not just about first love, but lasting love. Sam and Suzy aren't made for each other, but they found each other, and they're there for each other, and that's so much more important. I’m not sure that’s necessarily what Moonrise Kingdom is about; it’s merely the aspect that made the most profound impact. It’s also a reminder that Anderson, who co-wrote the screenplay with regular collaborator Roman Coppola, is not just piling on quirks for quirk's sake. There is a heart beneath the immaculately tailored threads.

Willis, Norton, McDormand, and Murray are each excellent as comically despondent sad sacks, and hilarious performers Swinton, Balaban, Jason Schwartzman, and Harvey Keitel support them in small but significant roles. This is really the deadpan Gilman and tender Hayward’s showcase, though, just as it’s Sam and Suzy’s universe, and everyone else is just living in it. Moonrise Kingdom’s look and feel inspires the same effect; as if it were crafted in the imagination of two kids who dream of grand adventures and wild floods and roving bands of adversaries and fire-cracker explosions and matching outfits and water-colour landscapes. The soundtrack, comprised of curious, seemingly castrato choral arrangements and a ‘How To’ guide for the orchestra, further takes us back to our youth. Shallow affectations are never this specific and considered.

The number of detractors who despise Anderson's peculiarities is matched only by the YouTube parodies that mock his particular set of skills. Moonrise Kingdom is the sign of an artist moving forward undeterred, and the resulting product is one of the best pieces he's yet produced. Why should he have to apologise for marrying lasting, indelible imagery with unique aural delights if they should contain a compelling story and true characters? Around the time of his disappointing and detached The Life Aquatic, I wondered if Wes could still tell real stories. He can. His way. That is all we can ever ask of a filmmaker.

4.5/5

Check out Simon’s other reviews here.

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Member Reviews (45)

Flik
says
I only watched this movie because it is directed by Wes Anderson and has Bruce Willis in it along with a host of other well known actors and actresses. I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. It was funny, engaging and yes weird. It did take some getting used to so don't turn it off after like 10mins that doesn't give the movie justice. It has some hilarious moments, the kind that it happens and 2 seconds later it hits you and you laugh. I enjoyed this movie and if you like Wes Anderson movies you'll love this.
Posted Tuesday, 8 July 2014 See my other reviews
We watched this just after being at a Scout Camp! Got better as it went along. Some good performances...
Posted Wednesday, 28 May 2014 See my other reviews
Miss Melis
says
Im with Jericho and Chooky - c*** ! I think they were trying to be a bit like Unfortunate Events and failed dismally. Think I managed 15 minutes, and that killed me. I wonder if anyone got paid for this..........
Posted Sunday, 20 April 2014 See my other reviews
Wierdly touching. Touchingly wierd.
Posted Saturday, 19 April 2014 See my other reviews
Loved this film. Quirky, sweet and reminds us to live life.
Posted Friday, 21 February 2014 See my other reviews
Brilliant quirky film, if you like arthouse stuff you'll love it. Great cinematography and it's great to see actors famous for different roles really embrace their strange characters.
Posted Sunday, 19 January 2014 See my other reviews
Craig
says
I did try for 40 minutes to get into this movie. What a load of rubbish!
Posted Sunday, 1 December 2013 See my other reviews
Treats his characters with affection and respect. Can't ask for more than that.
Posted Monday, 18 November 2013 See my other reviews
a knockout of whimsy charm.
Posted Sunday, 6 October 2013 See my other reviews
A masterpiece! Visually stunning, creatively unique and super sweetly whimsical. Didn't like what happened to Snoopy, but aside from that, this film was an absolute joy from start to finish! :-)
Posted Sunday, 12 May 2013 See my other reviews
different but good
Posted Friday, 3 May 2013 See my other reviews
benmarshall-wordpirate.com
says
Boy, this movie really polarises the reviewers here, which surprised me. We loved it. It's a movie for the buffs, who appreciate the craft of movie making, who appreciate odd-ball romance, underplayed performance, great cinematography and direction. If you're at the end of the spectrum who loved Little Miss Sunshine, I'm confident you'll enjoy this. I disagree with the review that says this isn't for children too - presumably because it's got some very mild s*xual fumbling going on and some troubled kids - but I think it's a great fable for kids, and for any adult that still appreciates simple storytelling. Some thought it twee, but my very sensitive Twee Radar didn't register once - I was charmed and, in the fairy tale sense, enchanted. The reviewer who thought the subplots undeveloped and the writing lazy is perhaps used to viewing film and TV that spell things out more. I loved how the subplots allowed the viewer to think them through, and I thought the script was excellent - and I'm a scriptwriter. Relax, it's a fairy tale, don't overthink it. But definitely get it out. Recommended.
Posted Friday, 3 May 2013 See my other reviews
Such a sweet no bs movie! Not for children, for people who can appreciate hidden treasures.
Posted Tuesday, 30 April 2013 See my other reviews
Purplesue
says
This film is very quirky, but very very enjoyable! You have to ask who are the adults & who are the children? Great acting all round. A real delight.
Posted Tuesday, 30 April 2013 See my other reviews
Grey
says
Mixed feelings about this movie which was very good on one hand and tad naff on the other. I quite like pretentious films with a clever eye to detail, mocking the sixties style and the aesthetic cult of bushcraft. The overall narrative was weak allowing a-grade actors self-indulgently dumbing-down was not enough to make me like this film. Worth a watch you will hate or love it, or like me feel just a bit disappointed.
Posted Wednesday, 17 April 2013 See my other reviews
Pig McGee
says
Knew nothing about it before I watched it and thoroughly enjoyed it. The first time I've ever seen Bruce Willis actually act.
Posted Tuesday, 9 April 2013 See my other reviews
Paul
says
People who gave this any less than four stars obviously don't get Wes Anderson and probably haven't seen any of his other films. Watch Fantastic Mr Fox and then watch this and you'll be with it.
Posted Tuesday, 2 April 2013 See my other reviews
jericho3782
says
I dont know why i picked this movie turned it of after 15 min kids show
Posted Wednesday, 13 March 2013 See my other reviews
chookey
says
Only watched 10 mins of this. Stupid as...
Posted Friday, 8 March 2013 See my other reviews
CC
says
This movie is similar in concept to Hugo, in that the central characters are children, but the story is unlikely to appeal to children, and probably not very appealing to many adults either. Again, like Hugo, it's essentially directorial self-indulgence and an artistic homage to the golden days of youth (appropriately filmed through tinted lenses). The main girl gives a very mature performance, but the boy is incredibly annoying, nerdish & starring in his own 'Boys Own' adventure. Ho hum.
Posted Friday, 1 March 2013 See my other reviews
Anna
says
This was fabulous. Great story, talented performances by awesome cast. What a relief that some film makers still get it! Movies are meant to be about imagination, its a place we can discover and express wild dreams, there's nothing wrong with adults acting like kids and visa versa, your age doesn't determine your ability to handle things or be effective , we can all learn from each other and stories make that a safe journey
Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 See my other reviews
darthdorian
says
A good movie that reminds me of a time when there wasn't any social media. No texting or tweeting or facebook. A good story about young people discovering themselves with out the pressures of todays society. If it was set in todays time, the two kids would have met, and after texting for a week fallen in love. The two main children reminided me of harry potter and herminine. All that was missing was the scar on the forehead.
Posted Tuesday, 19 February 2013 See my other reviews
GaryH
says
This movie has weirdness written all over it, but not necessarily in a good way. The adults act like children and the children act like adults, with stilted and stylized dialogue and a story that goes around in one big circle until it ends up back where it started from. If this is supposed to be about the innocence of the young and the foolishness of a wasted life, then it gets a big fail.
Posted Saturday, 9 February 2013 See my other reviews
Janine
says
I loved this movie but it's for the special few - most people won't like it or see any depth to it. I loved the cartoon style photography and colour, the Napolean Dynamite humour and characters ... just throughly enjoyed it ... but alone. See comments by MLV below
Posted Monday, 4 February 2013 See my other reviews
Mike
says
Clever film.
Posted Thursday, 31 January 2013 See my other reviews
CL-D
says
This movie has all the elements to make it a hit but I felt something not to be right about it. It's a million little stories thrown into one but they are all rather boring and there's nothing new here. I guess I found it a bit sterile, trying to go somewhere but not succeeding. Everyone says it's quirky, but I reckon it is more "trying" to be quirky, and failing. The photography was different and sometimes Fellini like but I thought it was all a bit twee. I didn't get a laugh or drop a tear, it just lacked guts annd fell short. I could go on but "Kimbo" has already said it.
Posted Thursday, 31 January 2013 See my other reviews
gerd
says
It's quirky, rather silly, somewhat nonsensical, but hilarious all the same. The love of the two kids at the heart of the story is touching, palpable, credible and sweet. All making a wonderful movie, that's something really different.
Posted Tuesday, 29 January 2013 See my other reviews
MLV
says
I didn't know what to expect. Yes this movie is quirky, it's also sweet, moving and one of the most enjoyable movies I've seen for a long time. Great to see a stellar cast in roles out of the norm for them. The kids were fantastic too.
Posted Thursday, 24 January 2013 See my other reviews
Quirky, stylistic film with unusual storyline. Worth a look for some light but interesting viewing.
Posted Wednesday, 23 January 2013 See my other reviews
Kim
says
Seriously DON'T DO IT!!!! You will feel like you are hallucinating, but in a bad way. I love quirky and unusual but this is just so lame. What a waste of a superb cast, however they did the best with the nonsensical script they had.
Posted Sunday, 20 January 2013 See my other reviews
Adam
says
Unusual is the only way to describe this movie. Nice story but a little too out there for my taste.
Posted Sunday, 20 January 2013 See my other reviews
Stupid movie,it made no sence at all.
Posted Friday, 18 January 2013 See my other reviews
Very strange movie!! Strong cast gives it promise and this is what attracted us to the movie,but it was a huge let down.... there would have to be something else you'd rather watch.
Posted Thursday, 17 January 2013 See my other reviews
Sam
says
Light hearted entertainment - very quirky - not for everyone! Interesting to see the softer side of tough guy Bruce Willis in something other than the action flicks that made him famous.
Posted Thursday, 17 January 2013 See my other reviews
Quirky and interesting film by Wes Anderson. Loved the colour, photography and humour. Fantastic.
Posted Monday, 14 January 2013 See my other reviews
Cairo49
says
Great actors (who don't get to do much) and a quirky storyline - is probably worth a look but for me it was pretty forgettable.
Posted Thursday, 10 January 2013 See my other reviews
Jademermaid
says
This film is gorgeously whimsical, sweet and fun with an adorable quirkiness to it.
Posted Tuesday, 8 January 2013 See my other reviews
Shannon
says
Another excellent Wes Anderson film. An odd but delightful film.
Posted Tuesday, 8 January 2013 See my other reviews
Love almost everything Wes Anderson does. This one is sweet. There is an inate generosity, letting people be who they are no matter how odd they may seem.
Posted Tuesday, 8 January 2013 See my other reviews
Darren
says
Welcome to the child world of Wes Anderson. Movie had a very unusual look and plot. A modern fairytale of misfits and love.
Posted Monday, 7 January 2013 See my other reviews
Angelika
says
Lots of famous people in it, but a bit strange!
Posted Saturday, 5 January 2013 See my other reviews
excellent
Posted Wednesday, 2 January 2013 See my other reviews
kimbo
says
Not on par with Rushmore/Darjeeling Limited/Life Aquatic at all. Nothing really funny in it or particularly dramatic (the ending was a bit corny), all of his other movies had some really clever subtle humour. There just didn't seem to be much going on. Underdeveloped plots like Frances McDormand cheating on Bill Murray with Bruce Willis, I feel more could have been done with that but ultimately not much happened. Some of the darkness from his earlier films could have worked great there. Edward Norton's character had potential as well but he ultimately did not have much to do. The writing just came off as lazy. The dialog between the two kids I couldn't buy either. I know Wes has his own unique dialog and tone, which is why I love all of his other movies, but it just didn't work with 12 year olds. None of it was particularly sharp either. There just wasn't enough going on. There was a particular shot of the two kids looking at each other on the beach that felt like hipster bait. One positive I will say is the kids had some sweet moments and did have chemistry. Anyways, I hope others enjoyed this more than I did.
Posted Saturday, 29 December 2012 See my other reviews
Cindy
says
If coy and whimsy are your thing, you'll probably enjoy this more than me. It's true that Wes Anderson has a 'world" and he is a master at conveying that to a cinema audience. His vision is again expertly conveyed here, but the story is so trite and fleeting that the journey is only just worth the effort.
Posted Thursday, 27 December 2012 See my other reviews
chrissychrispants
says
A charming little story in the most cutesy of settings (Wes Anderson really has a 'world' that is very recognisable). For me, it really tapped into that feeling of what it was like to be 12 - on the brink of adulthood and at the same time fighting against the inevitable, with a dose of innocent romance and whimsy. Charming.
Posted Tuesday, 25 September 2012 See my other reviews
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