Starring Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Harvey Keitel, Kara Hayward, and Jared Gilman
From Wes Anderson, director of Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic, Bottle Rocket, The Darjeeling Limited, and The Fantastic Mr. Fox, comes a wonderfully entertaining epic, romantic, fairy tale adventure about two kids who run away together into the wilderness, filmed in the mock-heroic style of a children’s storybook.
Wes Anderson burst onto cinema screens with the bold one-two punch of Bottle Rocket (1996) and Rushmore (1998). Both movies used an exuberant “let’s-put-on-a-show” esthetic to explore the fuzzy line between childhood and adulthood in a playful manner that was self-reflexively mirrored in Rushmore’s high school productions of classic movies like Apocalypse Now. In subsequent films (The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic, The Darjeeling Limited, The Fantastic Mr. Fox), Anderson brought his now-trademark blend of irony and deadpan slapstick to darker themes of family dysfunction. Anderson’s latest work returns to the lighter tones of his earlier work, and the result is one of the best movies of his career. Moonrise Kingdom is a wonderfully entertaining epic, romantic, fairy tale adventure about two kids who run away together into the wilderness, filmed in the mock-heroic style of a children’s storybook or school play. The year is 1965, and New Penzance Island is a quiet place, at least until young love birds Sam Shakusky and Suzy Bishop take to the woods together just as the storm of the century bears down on the island. Sam’s fellow Khaki Scouts, led by the dedicated Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton), join forces with the melancholy Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis), Suzy’s unhappy parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand), and the malevolent Social Services (Tilda Swinton) in pursuit of the young lovers. The excellent cast also includes Jason Schwartzman and Harvey Keitel, but newcomers Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman steal the movie. Although Moonrise Kingdom is delightfully infused with Anderson’s usual dry wit, it is surprisingly earnest, heartfelt and lovely. -Dylan Skolnick (USA, 2012, 94 min., color, 35mm)
“Moonrise Kingdom” breezes along with a beautifully coordinated admixture of droll humor, deadpan and slapstick. One of Mr. Anderson’s supreme achievements: It’s wondrously beautiful, often droll and at times hauntingly melancholic.” -Manohla Dargis, NEW YORK TIMES
“Moonrise Kingdom is a deeply romantic film, perhaps the sweetest and most compassionate Anderson has ever made.” -Andrew O’Hehir, SALON.COM
“We may look back on Anderson’s works as we do on the boxes of Joseph Cornell — formal troves of frippery, studded with nostalgic private jokes, that lodge inexplicably in the heart. In Moonrise Kingdom, that lodging is already under way.” -Anthony Lane, THE NEW YORKER
“It’s an adventure, a love story, a biblical allegory complete with approaching storm, a mash note to composer Benjamin Britten and a profoundly touching discourse on the needs of troubled children.” -Amy Biancolli, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE