Sunday, June 10, 2012

Movie Review: "Moonrise Kingdom"

I've been fairly inconsistent about doing movie reviews so far this year, but seeing as this is just the fifth movie I've seen, I'm going to try and turn over a new leaf. Believe me, this summer there are literally TONS of movies I want to see, so I'm going to give the reviewing thing a better shot.

King of Quirk Wes Anderson (director of Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and The Darjeeling Limited) returns to his kingdom with the sweetly odd Moonrise Kingdom. Set in 1965 on an island off the coast of New England, the movie follows young Khaki Scout Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman), a foster child struggling with fitting in with the other scouts, as he disappears one night to meet his pen pal, Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward), who has run away from her tumultuous home life to meet Sam and set off on a new life together.

When their disappearances are noticed, a number of people on the remote island begin searching for the two, including melancholy police officer Captain Ward (Bruce Willis), the head of Sam's scout troop, Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton) and his ragtag scout troop, and Suzy's feuding parents, Walt and Laura Bishop (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand), who have enough problems of their own. And then, to the dismay of everyone, Social Services (Tilda Swinton) gets involved.

Anderson gives the runaways' encounters the right amount of humor, awkwardness, and poignancy, that moment when you realize there is someone out there who feels exactly the way you do. The movie definitely has its slapsticky moments, but it also has a lot of heart. Gilman and Hayward, in their film debuts, truly embody the mixed emotions of their characters, and Bruce Willis displays a sadsack tenderness you rarely see in his performances. (Conversely, Bill Murray doesn't seem particularly interested in what's going on most of the time.)

This movie definitely isn't for everyone, but if you enjoy light comedy with a dash of uncomfortable awkwardness and a healthy helping of quirk, you're sure to like Moonrise Kingdom. I know I did.

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