Note: I’m backdating this a bit just so it falls more inline with when I actually saw the movie. As I see more movies this summer, I’m going to try to do this more often. Thanks for reading!
Since watching the awesomeness that is “Rushmore,” I have been a fan of the films of Wes Anderson. And while I have not seen all of his movies – I somehow missed the “The Darjeeling Unlimited” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox” – every movie he releases is compared to his previous fare. “Moonrise Kingdom” is no exception to this rule.
“Kingdom” is a coming of age tale, revolving around two young pen pals that live on a remote island in the 1960s. Both are miserable in their current environments: Sam, probably the most awkward scout to ever live, and Suzy, a girl who feels out of place at home with her lawyer parents and two younger brothers. They mutually agree to run away and meet at the center of their island home, which sends both the scouts and Suzy’s family to start looking for them. Numerous pratfalls abound, and it all comes to a very Anderson-like ending.
If you have seen any trailers for the film, or the television commercials, they seem to resolve around the performance of Bill Murray, who is great as always. As with most directors like Anderson, numerous actors from his previous films show up in “Kingdom.” Jason Schwartzman (Rushmore, The Darjeeling Unlimited, Fantastic Mr. Fox) returns, as well as Murray (every Anderson film but Bottle Rocket pretty much). However, new arrivals Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, and Bruce Willis add something to the film as well.
I think more attention should be lavished on the two kids in the lead roles of Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward). The story does resolve around them after all, and from what I can tell, this movie was their first role in a movie. They play the role of star-crossed lovers well, and their awkwardness together is very enticing. It felt as if any child that grew up with a close friend of the opposite gender would have experienced a lot of the same foibles growing up. Maybe not to the same extent for sure, but it felt pretty real.
Most reviews or this movie tend to agree that this is Anderson’s best movie since “The Royal Tenenbaums.” Since I haven’t seen two of the films released since then, I can’t really comment on the validity of that statement. That said, I would put it on the same level as “Tenebaums,” which is my favorite Anderson film for various reasons. While I do not think “Moonrise Kingdom” needs to be seen in theaters, it definitely is something that should be seen if you are a fan of Anderson, or even just quirky comedies of similar type.
Until next time…