Moonrise Kingdom Review

By Adrian Nathaniel Groves – July 4 2012

Sam – Jared Gilman
Suzy – Kara Hayward
Capt. Sharp – Bruce Willis
Ward – Edward Norton
Mr. Bishop – Bill Murray
Mrs. Bishop – Frances McDormand
Social Services – Tilda Swinton
Cousin Ben – Jason Schwartzman
The Narrator – Bob Balaban
Pierce – Harvey Keitel


Focus Features presents a film directed by Wes Anderson. Written by Roman Coppola and Anderson.

There’s a storm coming in Wes Anderson’s latest where a preteen couple try to escape from their miserable lives of adolescent restriction in a beautiful story of young love and the incoming hurricane they call adulthood. Sam and Suzie are pen pals meeting the previous summer and devising a plan to run away for a week. They are sought after by Sam’s fellow scouts led by Edward Norton as the scout captain as well as Suzie’s parents, Bill Murray and Frances McDormand respectively. Their adventure is, as they seem to realize, the final defiant act of their childhood. Looking back I’ve realized the films greatest strength is in making the audience remember our own youth. A lovingly detailed look at the world through the eyes of two twelve year olds who have discovered what they believe to be true love, while probably more akin to real friendship.

The perfs from the two unknown leads are the rock, they become their characters and the palpable chemistry anchors the film. The other star studded half of the cast come across as typical cynical Wes Anderson characters, oftentimes acting childish. Anderson’s contribution to the success of the film is in toning down some of his usual eccentricities, creating a vastly more accessible film with characters we find easier to identify. His penchant for being “too clever” toned down helped to create a genuine love for our protagonists, a quality I found missing in his previous efforts. What Anderson does that always works is he always plays it straight not for laughs. There are laughs to be had, several understated, quiet details that went over big with the audience.