Moonrise Kingdom is a quintessential Wes Anderson movie. The look and feel of the movie is textbook to his style. Tracking shots and quirky music set the scene for a wonderfully enjoyable film set in 1965. Much like Life Aquatic we are thrown into the imagination of Anderson with his story of two kids who fall in love with each other and go to the end of the island for each other.
The story of Moonrise Kingdom takes place in New England where two 12 year olds meet and fall madly in love with one another. The kind of impractical yet beautifully innocent love only children can possess. There are no judgements or hesitations just pure admiration for one another. When the two agree to run away from their current dwellings, a household and a summer camp, respectively all hell breaks loose to try and find them. While the hunt is on to bring these two love birds back to their previous lives we get to watch two young actors really do exceptional work. Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward really shine as Sam and Suzy. The scenes were they are camping and just enjoying the innocence of being together is great to watch. Suzy is a known problem child and has apparently some anger issues. While Sam is a foster child who just can’t seem to stay out of trouble. Here Anderson makes you realize that they are both bigger than their labels in the outside world and shows you who they have the potential to be given the right situation. As Sam and Suzy not only explore the island but their own relationship you can’t help but remember the first time you kissed a girl/boy and the awkwardness and excitement you felt. Their journey not only shows that moment but it’s a representation of those feelings the entire time.
It sadly doesn’t take too long for Sam and Suzy to be found, and then the party is over, or so they thought. The last act of the film is the great escape. Escape from what? All of the adult relationships in the movie are fractured and broken in some way. The kids are basically trying to escape this life of fracture and go have adventures and not get stuck. With the help of his Khaki Scouts troop, Sam is reunited with the love of his life and they are off. Working with a quirky personality played by Jason Schwartzman who helps them on their way. This of course is all under the backdrop of a hurricane that’s coming unexpectedly. In the end, we get a very satisfying resolution to our story and the mirror of young love versus old love is forever removed. You can watch these adults (played brilliantly by Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, and Frances McDormand) try and separate this young love and fail but it speaks to their adult view of the silliness of so called puppy love. However, it turns out the kids show them how powerful that unbridled, illogical, and sometimes silly love can be.
* I purposefully didn’t mention much about the adult actors in this movie because I feel like it would take a way the magnificent work performed by the kids involved. That’s not to say we didn’t get excellent performances by all of them.