Operating on a level of fantasy rather than reality, Wes Anderson is a romantic visionary of sorts. With Moonrise Kingdom being the seventh film in his steadily increasing oeuvre, the Texas born filmmaker proves (once again) to be one of the few innovative auteurs working today.
Anderson’s latest whimsical tale of young love revolves around Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward). The boy is an orphan stuck in a household that won’t take him back. The girl is the outcast of a six-person family, including a father (Bill Murray) and mother (Frances McDormand) that are having marital issues due to some possible infidelity.
As with any Wes Anderson picture the characters are painted thin, but with nuance. Sam and Suzy just simply want to be together. But as with any romantic relationship when you’re 12, they’re boundaries and restrictions and parents. In spite of those obstacles the two precocious preteens decide to run away from home together and start a new life, away from the New England Island they’re stranded on.
Frantic and perplexed, the parents of Suzy, along with the local Captain (Bruce Willis) and the scout pack Sam was once apart of led by a master Scout (Edward Norton); there’s an Island-wide lookout for the adolescent fugitive lovers.
Dispersed between the long stretches of searching for these two kids is the blissful act of falling in love with someone. Sam is an oddity of a child, and so is Suzy. Whether you believe in the entity of a soul mate or not, it’s difficult to deny that these two weren’t made for eachother. Fleeting away from the law, parents, and reality, we see Sam and Suzy interact, converse, and ultimately make themselves emotionally vulnerable to one another.
The tour de force of a cast keeps those moments intercut throughout the screenplay engaging. Norton as the Scout Ward who’s dedicated to finding his fellow solider, Willis as the local officer who provides an unexpected hand of friendship to Sam, and both Murray and McDormand as the married couple going through a rough patch, all add their bits of humor and sincerity.
However, similar to how Murray and McDormand perpetually impede Sam and Suzy being together, Wes Anderson – with his excessive need for quirky dialogue and painfully obvious character developments – continuously hindered my personal experience with a lot of the material on display.
As with any film that offers romance, intellect, and entertainment, I attempted to connect with Moonrise Kingdom on not only an artistic level, but an emotional one. Every time I pushed and pulled, the doors remained shut, unable to open for the light I was seeking.
Although, if Wes Anderson does anything with more proficiency than creating original screenplays, it’s his ingenious style of filmmaking that depicts life unlike any auteur we’ve seen. Some will wave their hands up in praise and some will wave their hands up in disdain. But no matter the response, there should be admiration for his vision.