Director: Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr. Fox)
Screenplay: Anderson (Bottle Rocket), Roman Coppola (The Darjeeling Limited)
Cast: Jared Gilman, Bruce Willis (The Sixth Sense)
Runtime: 94 min.
"I love you but you have no idea what you are talking about." Sam (Jared Gilman)
Nobody but director Wes Anderson, not even the brilliant Pixar crew, can perfectly capture the whimsy of growing up in a flawed society that leaves us still longing for the experience. In Moonrise Kingdom two twelve year olds, Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward) and Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman), leave to "elope" and see the world.
Although that adventure doesn't take them far from their 1965 New Penzance Island in New England, it serves as an introduction to first love and the beginning of an adult world of rebellion and independence, one they won't join just yet. Typical of Anderson, the current adults are slightly off center, played with detachment and eccentricity by Bill Murray (an Anderson favorite) and Frances McDormand as Suzy's parents, Edward Norton as the loving taskmaster scout master Ward, and Bruce Willis as clueless police Captain Sharp.
They and a group of talented players capture Anderson's quirky sense of reality, a world where a scout master smokes a cigarette in front of the campers and a mother takes up with the unsharp Captain Sharp.
The youngsters' defection brings out the best leadership qualities in scout master and police chief, who relish the hunt for the errant kids. With Benjamin Britten and Hank Williams providing Alexandre Desplat lilting and theme-driven music, Anderson creates a believable but highly irregular universe, where kids can make mistakes and be better for it while adults look a bit silly but retain a modicum of dignity.
A storm right out of The Tempest upsets all plans of escape for the two heroes and retribution from the adults, but it serves dramatically to even out lives that might have been stormy for a long time to come. Such is Prospero Anderson's world, off center yet spot on with its understanding of the yearnings of both children and adults as they awkwardly but romantically adventure into life.