Saturday, July 14, 2012
Moonrise Kingdom is the best film I've seen this year
Last night my partner and I were planning to go see either Magic Mike or Woody Allen's new movie, but when their showtimes didn't work for us, we decided to check out the new film by director Wes Anderson, whose previous work - especially Rushmore (1998) and The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) - we enjoyed. And I think we made the right choice because we both LOVED Moonrise Kingdom, which is a charmingly quirky delight with many great performances. Yes, most of Anderson's cinematic tales could be best described as "quirky" - but he and co-writer Roman Coppola (director Francis Ford Coppola's son) have also given their new film a sweet center that put a smile on my face from beginning to end.
Moonrise Kingdom's story is set in 1965 on a New England island, where two 12-year-olds, Sam and Suzy, run away together from his summer camp and her family. The ensemble cast couldn't be better, including Edward Norton as Sam's scout master, Bill Murray and Frances McDormand as Suzy's concerned parents, Bruce Willis as the island's police captain, Tilda Swinton as the head of Social Services (Sam is an orphan), and Jason Schwartzman, Harvey Keitel and Bob Balaban as other characters whom I will let you discover for yourself. However, the movie wouldn't succeed without two amazing young actors as Sam and Suzy. Fortunately, Anderson was lucky enough to find Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, who - in their first professional acting roles - are both wonderful. You will not be able to resist rooting for their onscreen couple to find happiness together. And the rest of the film's young actors - who play Sam's fellow scouts and Suzy's brothers - are equally as good.
Finally, I must mention the brilliant cinematography (by Robert D. Yeoman), production design (by Adam Stockhausen), art direction (by Gerald Sullivan) and set decoration (by Kris Moran) because anyone who has ever seen a Wes Anderson movie knows that all of these important elements add so much to the overall experience of watching it. And if you don't understand what I'm trying to say, you will - after you go see Moonrise Kingdom, which I hope you will do based on my rave recommendation. Enjoy!
My Grade: A+
Running time: 94 minutes