A pair of young lovers run away together,
prompting the town to form a search party.
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Directed by Wes Anderson
Written by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
Starring Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand,
Bill Murray, Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Tilda Swinton,
Bob Balaban, Jason Schwartzman, Lucas Hedges, Harvey Keitel
Oscar Nominations - Best Original Screenplay
Moonrise Kingdom is a coming-of-age love story as told by Wes Anderson, complete with aggressive boy scouts, overbearing lawyer parents, and a young boy getting struck by lightning. Who else but Wes? Like most of his films, it's a bit of a slow starter, but once it draws you in, it doesn't let you go. It represents the importance and significance of first love, which hopefully we all experienced in our youth. It's powerful and it can push us to make impulsive, often rash decisions about our lives. Anderson showcases the importance of finding that balance between love and life, no matter how old you are.
Sam (Gilman) and Suzy (Hayward) are two young kids who run away together. Sam is a lonely orphan and Suzy is neglected and ignored by her lawyer parents. Their disappearance triggers the entire town to form a search party, led in part by an equally lonely police captain (Willis) and a dedicated scout master (Norton). They know that if they're found, Sam will be taken by Social Services (Swinton) and lost in the system. So, they go to pretty crazy lengths to avoid that, including getting married by a sketchy scout leader (Schwartzman). Unlike other Anderson projects like Isle of Dogs and The Grand Budapest Hotel (which I believe are story driven), Moonrise Kingdom relies on its layered characters to progress, much like The Life Aquatic or Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Moonrise Kingdom is an exemplary lesson in writing children, which is surprisingly difficult. Anderson's filmography is full of oddball stories and unique tales of worlds built on colors, uniformity, and lots of French. This one is no exception, and is a solid entry in his ongoing one of a kind catalog.