MOONRISE KINGDOM

Wes Anderson is odd. But that is a great thing when it comes to the art of filmmaking. Anderson doesn’t do cookie cutter. Have you seen “Rushmore”, “The Royal Tenenbaums” or “Bottle Rocket”? ‘Nuff said. So when he seems to make a romantic comedy, you won’t get Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Ryan Reynolds or Sandra Bullock. No in MOONRISE KINGDOM you get two young, unknown actors who play 12 year old chaste lovers. Jared Gilman as Sam and Kara Hayward as Suzy are outcasts. He’s an orphan. She’s a “problem child”. They meet and it is love at first sight. So they plan to run away together. And that’s where this story of love, adventure and family takes off. Anderson’s quirky choices and slightly askew humor are perfect in this movie. The young infatuaters (they can’t be lovers at that age) do all they can to stay together, despite the adults trying to pull them apart. I don’t want to spoil anything but the climax involves a storm, Bruce Willis and a church steeple. Edward Norton is funny as an inept scout leader. Willis is the island’s slightly slow police chief. They are the adults that get the most time outside of the kids. Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand and Harvey Keitel are good, but they don’t have huge parts to play (but they are all key). Jason Schwartzman has about 10 minutes of screen time and he steals every second. This is Wes Anderson at his best. And that means a little more than 90 minutes of pure enjoyment for the audience! — Alan Yudman

Perfection. It’s a little like a young adult BOTTLE ROCKET and a lot
like Wes Anderson’s brother Eric’s novel-with-maps CHUCK DUGAN IS AWOL
(reviewed here February, 2009), With a dash of bitters to keep it from
being precious, MK is whimsical and humorous and so spot-on artless
about that brief window between puppy and physical love, it leaves you
utterly delighted. Shot in the late summer golden glow of memory, the
sheer happiness that infuses this movie turns tough guys Bruce Willis
and Ed Norton and Harvey Keitel into sweet innocents — and introduces
us to a pair of actual innocents, tweener leads Jared Gilman and Kara
Hayward (first films for both!) who, together and apart, hold the
screen with their ill-starred, then blessed romance. Add in side
players including Kara’s triplet-ish little brothers, mean old Tilda
Swinton and a Greek chorus of “Khaki Scouts” plus Anderson’s
theatrical flair in the service of a deeply felt humanity — and
you’ve got one terrific movie. — Jeff Schultz

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