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Moonrise Kingdom

A film by Wes Anderson

< read all 4 reviews

A bit slight for a kingdom

  • May 24, 2012


Written by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola

Directed by Wes Anderson

Starring Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward and Bruce Willis


Captain Sharp: Even smart kids stick their fingers in electrical sockets. It takes time to figure things out.


Wes Anderson is an auteur, through and through. His style is unmistakable – from the deliberate cinematography, wide angled and colourful, to the soundtrack, usually folksy and reasonably obscure. He even works with the same actors on a frequent basis (Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman, most notably), which only further strengthens the definition of the Wes Anderson universe. His latest, MOONRISE KINGDOM, employs all of these familiar elements but something is missing this time. Aside from Owen Wilson (who has been in every single Anderson film except this one), what is most noticeably absent in MOONRISE KINGDOM, is a point. I mean, there is one; it just hardly seems worth all the trouble.


Working with his regular writing partner, Roman Coppola, who last worked with Anderson on a personal favourite, THE DARJEELING LIMITED, Anderson weaves yet another quirked out tapestry of a story. Perhaps Anderson’s previous foray into children’s film inspired him to continue trumpeting the youth voice as his two main protagonists here are both barely old enough to watch the majority of Anderson’s repertoire. Sam and Suzy (Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, both complete unknowns), fall for each other one night while he, having broken away from his scout troop while attending a church play about Noah’s Arc, stumbles upon her in her dressing room before her cue. There is an unspoken understanding that they are both outsiders – well, I assume there is anyway, otherwise I don’t know why else these two would gravitate towards each other – and they agree through correspondence that they should abandon their lives and live in the woods together. They both live on an island in the middle on nowhere and it’s 1965 so I guess that means this sort of arrangement is actually feasible. The kids do well with the morose, disaffected acting style Anderson pulls from all his actors but it sure is bleak to see future generations looking so hopelessly lost.


Aesthetically, Anderson never misses a beat. Every detail, and there are plenty of them, is tended to with great care. Sometimes, this leads to an absurdity that is both uproarious and insightful. At other times though, his films, despite the warmth in the colour tones themselves, can come across as quite cold. MOONRISE KINGDOM suffers from this. As the kids fight for their relationship, their parents and guardian types (the aforementioned Murray, as well as Frances McDormand, Bruce Willis and Edward Norton) bumble around trying to find them and keep their own lives from falling apart. The most I took away from this is that parents should check themselves because their kids are watching them and subsequently learning how to live and love from them at all times. The killer cast does their best to maintain the intrigue and mood but the simplicity of the themes left me wondering if Anderson is running out of things to say. Fortunately, for now, he still knows how to make whatever little amount he has to say look awful pretty.

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A bit slight for a kingdom A bit slight for a kingdom

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May 27, 2012
This sounds interesting but I am not sure if it is the type of movie I want to see right now.
June 17, 2012
It is very much in the same vein as Anderson's other films, just more finely tuned.
More Moonrise Kingdom reviews
review by . July 19, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****    Wes Anderson's deadpan tragicomedies have always featured flawed individuals; a lot of them adults. Most of the time, the children are not in the spotlight, but merely side characters victim to the emotional suffering of their parents and/or older friends. But get this. In "Moonrise Kingdom", Anderson is reversing his formula while at the same time retaining it. His newest film features mainly young protagonists; grounded in a plot in which the adults are …
review by . May 26, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         I know that somewhere within Moonrise Kingdom is a charming and poignant coming-of-age story. Unfortunately, whatever potential it had was ruined by director/co-writer Wes Anderson, whose perplexing cinematic sensibilities betray an inability to depict realistic characters we can actually invest in. There is no truth to this film. It depicts nothing more than odd people doing odd things for very odd reasons. We’re supposed to find this funny, …
review by . September 26, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
   Moonrise Kingdom could be very well defined as an exquisite work of art that simply requires from it's viewers to lock-on in their seats and disappear in this utopian jungle full of cat food and badges of marksmanship. Wes Anderson delivers his best film to date, a film that mirrors the same themes of childhood goofiness, unprejudiced love, and the desire to escape, all curdled into this colorful and expressive tableau.      At first you might reason that Moonrise …
About the reviewer
Joseph Belanger ()
Ranked #8
Hello Lunchers. I am a thirty-something guy making his way in Toronto. I am a banker by day and a film critic the rest of the time. Sensitive, sharp and sarcastic are just a few words that start with … more
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