Wes Anderson’s film about first love, Moonrise Kingdom (2012) is a delight. From the moment you press play, you can tell it is a Wes Anderson piece. The music, the lighting, the costumes, and the quirky characters are all very Andersonian. If you’ve seen any of his other works, you’ll recognize some familiar faces in this one–Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, and Jason Schwartzman. But the real stars of the film are the young couple in love, Sam and Suzy, played by Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward. The two are misfits, hated and feared by most of their peers in their small New England town, due to their odd and sometimes violent tendencies. The film shows us that they are mostly misunderstood, and not nearly as broken and lost as they seem. After an extended period of writing letters, the two twelve year olds plan to run away together during the summer of 1965, and they would have succeeded had it not been for Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis), Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton), and the Khaki Scouts. The town is mobilized in a search for the wayward lovers, as time passes and a dreadful storm rushes near. While searching for Sam and Suzy, the town comes together and lessons are learned. Meanwhile, the love birds learn more about themselves and each other as they explore their love in the most innocent and endearing of ways.
I must admit, I am a Wes Anderson fan, so I am a little biased. I enjoy his quirky stories and characters, and delight in his slightly left of center humor. Understandably, this is not a film for everyone. I can see how some people would be bored or turned off. This is my review, however, and I give the film an A-. Film quality-wise, it is perfect. There was just a little something missing from the story, though. I wanted more from the adults. Norton’s character was not fleshed-out as much as he could have been, and Murray, McDormand, and Willis were caracatures in large part. The young actors, though, were all amazing.