Now See This – Moonrise Kingdom

Posted: June 17, 2012 in Movies, Now See This
Tags: , , , ,

Because some things demand your immediate attention

Moonrise Kingdom Movie

Moonrise Kingdom (d. Wes Anderson)

****1/2

I’ll be the first to admit that I had grown tired of Wes Anderson’s schtick.  The Darjeeling Limited left me cold and The Fantastic Mr. Fox was, at most, a pleasant diversion and departure from the director’s norm.  More and more, it seemed that Anderson was telling the same story over and over again with different shades of the same characters.  He had become, to my reckoning, a hipster version of Woody Allen.

So, it is with no shame that I admit to being somewhat reticent to check out the latest from the auteur.  But with little else to do on a hot, Sunday afternoon I found myself near a theater showing the film and decided to give it a shot.  I’m glad I did.  What I saw was undoubtedly Anderson’s best since Rushmore and it runs a pretty close second to that highly regarded movie.

The success of the film is owed in large measure to the fact that Anderson chose to eschew using his usual (and admittedly reliable) cast of actors. Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman are present in minor roles but there isn’t a Wilson to be found in the too short 90 minute running time.  In their place, you’ll find Bruce Willis and Edward Norton in delightful supporting parts.  The real stars of the feature however are young Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, both in their motion picture debuts.  They play Sam and Suzy, young kids in the throes of puppy love.  Their courtship is the heart of the movie and there wasn’t a single moment of it that rang untrue. 

Anderson has made a career of  telling stories of stunted man-children trying to deal with issues both fraternal and paternal.  With Sam and Suzy, he tells a simple little love story free of pretensions and wholly innocent.  It was a breath of fresh air and renewed my interest in any future offerings from one of film’s most accomplished storytellers.

Moonrise Kingdom is most likely playing at a theater near you.  It’s a real charmer and easily the best film I’ve seen so far this year.

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