FROM the first glimpse of plaid in the opening credits, you know Wes Anderson’s latest film is going to be very Wes Andersony. It is. Moonrise Kingdom is also one of the greatest films the connoisseur of quirk has made in his autumn-tinted career.
Set on a New England island in 1965, it follows rogue boy scout Sam (Jared Gilman) who has escaped his band of highly enthusiastic campers and fled into the wild. What seems like a cry of help from a troubled orphan boy turns out to be an exercise of the heart.Sam is joined by Suzy (Kara Hayward): an equally troubled youngster and resident on the island.After meeting the previous summer and corresponding via a series of abrupt letters, Sam and Suzy have fallen in love. What follows is their struggle to be together and remain so, featuring everything from floods to evil social security workers.
Minus the three Wilson Brothers, all of the usual Anderson players appear – most notably Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray. And despite the A-List cast of Hollywood heavyweights (Bruce Willis, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton), Moonrise Kingdom belongs solely to its star-crossed lovers. Plucked form obscurity, Gilman and Hayward are two child actors you can see going on to do big things.
Pitch-perfect, they play everything with just the right amount of attitude, emotion and heart: three ingredients that shouldn’t work together but do thanks to their performances.
Moonrise Kingdom is like the illegitimate lovechild of The Goonies and Romeo and Juliet, making it the one of the most touching, adventurous and hilarious films of 2012.
[rating=4] and a half
Maria Lewis - follow Maria on Twitter here: @moviemazz
Directed by: Wes Anderson
Written by: Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola
Starring: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Harvey Keitel and Jason Schwartzman
Moonrise Kingdom is released on the 30th of August in Australia (and has already been released in the USA and UK)