Set on a small island off the coast of New England in 1965, Moonrise Kingdom is a story about growing up and finding your roots. Our two lead characters are both children; Sam is a member of the khaki-scouts – the least popular in the group – and Suzy lives at home with her solicitor parents and three younger brothers. Following a chance meeting, they hatch a plan to run away together.
The cast of the film is superb. Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton… amongst others. Although each of them only gets a short time on screen, they are all superb and create lasting characters. The two young actors that the film is built around (Jard Gilman as Sam and Kara Hayward as Suzy) are fantastic too.
The film is beautiful. The opening scene, for example, is a wonderful construct of colours and angles. The camera moves only in straight lines as we are introduced to Suzy’s home and family, and her longing to escape. This beauty remains throughout, but does change with our protagonists.
A mention must also be made for the music, which is very cleverly chosen (as with all Wes Anderson films). Lots of Britten and Hank Williams. Very atmospheric, but also with meaning for certain characters.
It may sound like a whole bunch of unrelated strands, and Wes Anderson may be known best for whimsy, but everything knits together into a very pleasing film which has something to say and is also a wonderful look back at 1960’s America.
One of the best films of the year, and the more I think about it, the more I enjoyed it.
(Playing at the Gate Cinema until Thursday 7 June, as well as other cinemas too, I guess…)