Moonrise Kingdom Review

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

18 thoughts on “Moonrise Kingdom Review

  1. mkaiserman July 14, 2012 / 11:45 pm

    With everything great in the picture, it was the picture postcard beauty of every frame and shot that captivated me. Plus, Anderson understands middle school kids better than anyone else filming young teens. Great review.
    Mark from

    • Gabriel Vogel July 15, 2012 / 10:03 am

      He really does. I was just thinking about how if Anderson had made this movie when I was a kid. It would have totally been my favorite movie growing up.

  2. semiblind July 15, 2012 / 12:34 am

    This is currently my pick for Best of the Year, and it’s Anderson’s best work since “The Royal Tenenbaums.”

    • Gabriel Vogel July 15, 2012 / 10:10 am

      Yeah, it’s just an all around great movie. It’s definitely on my top ten list for the year too, and it’s really great to see Anderson finally get out of his directorial slump.

    • Gabriel Vogel July 15, 2012 / 10:20 am

      He certainly is great here, and it’s good to see him in a role that’s different from what he’s used to. Everyone in this movie was fantastic, particularly the kids, Norton, and Willis, who I was really surprised by here.

  3. Paul Marino July 15, 2012 / 1:12 pm

    Nice review. And while I don’t agree with Mark and Nader that it’s Oscar worthy – at least at this point, and if it wins Best Picture, we have a terrible year in film following the greatness that was 2011 – it’s excellent and worth seeing: On my personal case, twice so far with a DVD viewing in the offing.

    • Gabriel Vogel July 15, 2012 / 1:36 pm

      Thanks a lot. Yeah, I don’t think Moonrise is going to be the best of the year, especially with the line up of films coming out in 2012. It’s certainly a wonderful film though.

  4. mmonty86 July 15, 2012 / 7:59 pm

    I agree that Moonrise Kingdom is a wonderful film. I’d be surprised if it wasn’t nominated for Best Picture. I don’t think it will win, or deserves to win, but it will likely catch enough votes.

  5. littlebells July 18, 2012 / 3:05 pm

    I absolutely adored this film, and my husband who has been converted to indies, thoroughly enjoyed it as well. And really, how can you not with Anderson and that amazing cast and crew behind him. 🙂

    • Gabriel Vogel July 19, 2012 / 4:54 am

      Yeah, Anderson is one of the best young directors around, and he’s at his best here. It’s truly a delightful film.

  6. ianthecool July 21, 2012 / 5:56 pm

    I’m not very nuanced in Anderson films, but your review has made me want to seek this out.

    • Gabriel Vogel July 21, 2012 / 6:15 pm

      Well, I’m glad I convinced you. It’s really a fantastic movie.

    • Gabriel Vogel August 7, 2012 / 4:45 pm

      Yeah, it really does have a wonderful sound to it. Wes Anderson has always been great about picking the perfect music for his films.

  7. Penny Lane August 26, 2012 / 4:21 pm

    Wes Anderson movies are refreshing. I was obsessed with him in school after watching Bottle Rocket and Rushmore.

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