Moonrise Kingdom is one of those storybooks we all read as children. Everything’s here: the idiosyncratic child leads, the watercolor visuals, the youthful wonder, and even the adults there to ruin everything. It seems like Wes Anderson’s current resurgence is completely based on this central theme. Perhaps after adapting Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, he decided to create a children’s book of his own.
This particular children’s book is about love, to be more accurate the love of two lonely youths. These lovers are young Sam and Suzy. They are both weird kids who find themselves alone in their respective worlds. Pushed together by a fateful church play they start exchanging letters. Through their communications, they each find the other to be the only source of understanding in their otherwise ignorant surroundings. These two lost souls having lost all faith in everything around them decide to run away together. This drums up an appropriate amount of concern by the parties involved, and a search for the young lovers ensues.
This film like all other Wes Anderson films is filled with lots of quirk. Be it the eccentric characters or the whimsical approach to storytelling, it’s ever present. However, don’t let that fool you into believing that this film is nothing but quirk for quirk’s sake. Regardless of all the idiosyncrasies everywhere, it never gets in the way of the film’s big bleeding heart. There is real emotion here and behind these wonderfully bizarre characters is a story of authentic human feelings.
These feelings would be meaningless if the actors showing them are weak, and I’m glad to say that there’s no need to worry at all. Anderson has gathered a dream team of actors including Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand, Jason Schwartzman, and the always-amazing Bill Murray. But, let us not forget the two leads of the film, Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, who are fantastic and perfectly portray the awkwardness and wonder of a youthful romance.
Quark and good actors aren’t the only things Anderson brings from his other films. He also brings his distinctive visual style. Like in his other movies there is a certain meticulous nature to the filmmaking here. Every shot seems like it has been painstakingly executed to one hundred percent excellence. Even the color pallet is mastered perfectly, giving the movie a watercolor like veneer. It’s like every piece of this film’s cinematography comes together to bring about a cohesive and brilliant vision.
Anderson has outdone himself. He flawlessly gives us the wonderful story of two misunderstood children and their struggles for love and a place to belong. I have little hesitation in naming this his finest film to date.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5