Movie Review: Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom is a whimsical piece of work. With its deadpan humour, caricature-like characters and storybook imagery, it’s a lovely film about young love.

Directed by Wes Anderson, the film stars Sam and Suzy  (played charmingly by newcomers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward) as a pair 12-year-old lovers.

Sam is an orphan Khaki Scout who escapes from his camp thinking that no one will miss his absence.  Suzy on the other hand, is left depressed because of her disjointed family. While she catches her mother Laura (Frances McDormand) having an affair with the town policeman Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis), her father Walt (Bill Murray), doesn’t even seem to care.

So acting like typical 12-year-olds, the only logical reason would be to run away.

Having spent a year being secret pen pals, the youngsters plot an escape and flee their unhappy lives to be together.  However, the two can’t escape everything. There’s a hurricane quickly approaching, as narrator Bob Balaban tells us as  he randomly appears throughout the film to provide updates and anecdotes.

Perfectly paced, the film jumps back and forth between Sam and Suzy’s  campout in the woods and the frenzy they cause back home with Sam’s fellow scouts and a bunch of adults including Suzy’s parents, Captain Sharp, Sam’s scoutmaster (played by a very chipper Edward Norton) and a woman only known as Social Services (Tilda Swinton).

With the film playing out like a storybook adventure, Sam and Suzy are a very fitting match. As they awkwardly and endearingly develop their romantic relationship, their chemistry appears to be very natural.

But that’s not to say the other characters aren’t brilliantly crafted. With the script’s witty dialogue and the characters’ deadpan sense of humours, what’s really fantastic about this film is the eccentric personalities presented.

And by adding in nice touches through its soundtrack, costumes and props (can I say how awesome Suzy’s portable record player was?!), the film certainly adds a feeling of nostalgia as it gives an impression of a simpler way of life in the 60s.

Positively received at the recent Cannes Film Festival, Moonrise Kingdom definitely shines. From its quirky and hilarious characters to Anderson’s idyllic cinematography, this is a charming film about pre-pubescent love.

10/10

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