Moonrise Kingdom

A pair of young lovers flee their New England town, which causes a local search party to fan out and find them.

I saw Moonrise Kingdom at the cinema a couple of years back, and it doesn’t lose any of its charm on rewatch. It’s a sweet and innocent film about childhood and it’s a real treat from Wes Anderson. The film is about two young children (Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward), who run away together from an island town in New England, and the search to find them from a combination of parents, scouts and local police. The story is beautifully told, it’s got lots of genuine funny moments and all of the cast, from the two youngsters to the adults like Bill Murray, Bruce Willis and Ed Norton, are excellent.

It shares a lot of the qualities of Anderson’s finest work, and by dialling things back to focus on two child protagonists, it lends a more authentic feel to his work. We can believe kids naively behaving in this way where the motives of some of Anderson’s adult protagonists in his other works don’t register as strongly. The production and art design is excellent, focusing on bright and luminous colours to emphasise the sunny and fresh outlook of its characters and despite the inherent worries involved with kids running away, we never feel that these characters are in danger. They’re purely on an adventure.

This is a film that evokes the joys of childhood, innocence and young love beautifully, and I’d rank it as Anderson’s finest work. Throughout this retrospective, I’ve found equal parts enjoyment and frustration in Anderson’s idiosyncrasies. When it works, as it does here, it can contribute to a truly original and enjoyable piece of work. When it doesn’t, it’s another reason to dislike one of his films. Next up, I’m going to run through the Coen Brothers filmography, kicking things off in a couple of weeks with their excellent 1984 debut, Blood Simple.

Rating: 5/5

Directed By: Wes Anderson

Starring: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Ed Norton, Jason Schwartzman and Bob Balaban

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