Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Director: Wes Anderson
Writers: Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola
Stars: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward and Bruce Willis
When I said I was going to see Moonrise Kingdom a friend asked me “So you’re a Wes Anderson fan?” and to be honest I would never have considered myself a fan of Wes Anderson. His movies are quirky, strange, and in some cases just completely bizarre. But after seeing Moonrise Kingdom I think I finally understand why people either love or hate him. However if you hate this film then there is something seriously wrong with you and you need to go to Disneyland and reclaim your childhood or something.
To try and describe Moonrise Kingdom would be to strip it bare of any real substance. At its heart it is about the love of children and how they feel passionate and life defining things. But there is so much more than that to the film. I could rant and rave for hours about the nuances of genius in the screenplay, or the incredible performances by every single one of the cast members, including the three little brothers of our heroine, Suzy (Kara Hayward). The children in this film are incredible actors and actresses. Most of the time I was sitting in awe of their ability to bring this story into life with their genuine acting. There was nothing false about their performances. The two main leads Suzy and Sam (Jared Gilman) are both “troubled” children, they are misunderstood and are trying to live in a world that will never really, truly understand why they are a little bit quirky or different. And they deal with it splendidly. Their adventure is crafted with such a big vision but also with an innocence that defines even the smallest things like what they pack for their escape. Suzy and Sam are two characters who I will never forget, they make me want to be a child again and wish that I was more adventurous when I was one.
Moonrise is beautiful and quirky and fun in every moment but with an underlying sadness of the adult lives of our parents, scout masters, and policemen. Anderson brings to light how children see the world with so much more depth than we give them credit for. We forget so easily what it was like to be a child, a teenager, a young adult even. Instead we try and grow up, we try and put on a brave face rather than being brave, and we forget how to enjoy the simple little things in life like the beauty of music and how it is constructed in so many layers. Anderson brings to light the falsehoods of adulthood, and the way we can affect children in even the smallest of ways with our actions and opinions. This film is filled with beautiful metaphors of life and love. I really want to find a way to use this as an English text as a teacher.
P.S. I still don’t love Bill Murray because he embodies the awkward and tense humour which I continually both cringe at and giggle to. It’s just too confusing to deal with. He’s great in this film, but I still don’t love him.