Moonrise Kingdom: A Review


Rewinding Childhood

Cast: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel, Bob Balaban.

 Director: Wes Anderson

The year is 1965. The story begins on the isles of New England as we are warned about an approaching storm.

Meanwhile, Sam Shakusky and Suzy Bishop have run away from home. They’re twelve years old, in love and ready to run into the wilderness. They know they won’t get too far (they live on an island), yet they continue on their adventure. Luckily, Sam’s a trained Khaki Scout, skilled in camping and foraging. He’s brought his camping equipment, his scouting skills and ideas (sucking on pebbles to quench your thirst), while Suzy’s brought her record player, her adventure books, and her “magic” binoculars.

It’s almost as if the characters in the film can somehow feel your presence, like they know you’re watching them closely; yet they don’t mind. Moonrise Kingdom has its own bits of theatricality, from the aesthetically pleasant scene shifts, to the commendable cinematography. And with an equally appealing background score, the entire combination creates quite an atmosphere.

Together with Roman Coppola,Wes Anderson (Director) has written a screenplay which has an actual story, with real-life situations. He has paid immense attention to detail, something that very few viewers would notice when watching the film for the first time – from the cover design of Suzy’s books to the subtle ways of describing Sam and Suzy’s problems at home. You feel like pausing the frames and looking closely at every scene for some subtle little clue, as if it were a special prize.

All this in a way, makes you enjoy Moonrise Kingdom even more; featuring Bruce Willisas a morose sheriff, Edward Norton as the Khaki Scout leader; who is very dedicated to his job and sends his scouts on funny yet dangerous missions, Bill Murray and Frances McDormand as Suzy’s lawyer parents with a failing marriage, Tilda Swinton as a bureaucratic social services officer, and Bob Balaban as our narrator.

But the true standout performances are given by Jared Gilman (Sam) and Tara Hayward (Suzy), who remind you of your first true love with their sweet, awkward, adorable romance. The performances are truly honest and earnest, and the film makes you remember your own childhood—without a care in the world, not getting or caring about what grown-ups say, becoming sexually aware, and when runaway adventures were really possible.

The film’s screenplay has been nominated for Best Original Screenplay at this year’s Academy Awards, and is very well deserving of it. In fact, the producers have made the script available to the public for free, in order to boost its chances. Here’s the link for the script:

And after making critically acclaimed films like Rushmore, The Fantastic Mr. Fox and Darjeeling Limited, Wes Anderson has brought to us a whimsical, heart-warming tale definitely worth watching.

Akhil Thakur

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