The moon never sets on Wes Anderson: ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ delights


Just when you think that movies can’t get any better, Wes Anderson releases yet another poignant and enchanting film, proving that what he crafts far surpasses the expectations raised with every new piece he creates. His movies keep getting better and better.

“Moonrise Kingdom,” is one part indie-romance, one part graceful humor and all parts an immaculately crafted film.  It was released on May 25, but only in limited theaters.

Despite the restrictions created by the limited release, Anderson has become something that everyone is craving, now that those outside just the indie community (thanks to “Fantastic Mr. Fox”), know who he is.  According to Moviefone, “Moonrise Kingdom” “was the highest per-screen average…during its opening weekend” despite the limited amount of theaters showing it.

This whimsical plot-driven film, set in the summer of 1965, follows the story between two 12-year-olds, Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman) and Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward) as they fall in love.

Both characters live New Penzance, a one-cop-car, mail-air-delivered island located off the coast of New England.   This small town, which is both unpaved and unconventional, is home to many characters, including Suzy, who lives in a lighthouse with her parents (played by Frances McDormand and Bill Murray) and three brothers, and Sam who, when not at his foster home, is at Camp Ivanhoe, a small Khaki Scout encampment located across the island.

After meeting each other at a musical that seems to take place every year, these two form a pen-pal relationship in which they reveal their weighty troubles and deeply bond over their polarity from everyone else.

After a year of writing these letters, they decide to meet up. “Walk four hundred yards due north from your house to the dirt path which has not got any name on it, turn right and follow to the end. I will meet you in the meadow,” writes Shakusky in one particularly memorable message.  And so, they begin their adventure with no idea (as the audience is informed by way of a narrator clad in a red coat) that in three days time a large storm will soon take reign of everything.

Khaki Scout Sam escapes from a well-oiled camp, leaving cause for his mentor, Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton), to send his fellow troops, himself and the island’s policeman (Bruce Willis) on a cross-island hunt for him. Unsurprisingly, after Sam’s absence has spread all the way across the island, Suzy’s absence is discovered as well.

Though the adults connected to these children might believe the 12-year-olds to be in trouble, it is quite the opposite. Between Sam’s wilderness skills, and the fact that there are seemingly no opportunities for harm on the island, these two are having a blast as they trek through the lands to “Mile 3.25 Tidal Inlet,” where they decide to make camp and settle down.

However, things don’t run as smooth as hoped; in fact, the only part of their adventure that seems to be right is the awkward, innocent love between these two vivid characters. But, despite those who are out to get them, the two make a great team and battle all odds to tear them apart.

Even though the protagonists of this movie are two 12-year-olds, this movie is by no means simply an adolescent film. In fact, like most of Anderson’s other movies, it deals with weighty themes such as growth, loneliness, sadness and family in such a manner that really calls for an introspective look into not only one’s emotional well being but also one’s psychological welfare.  Each of these elements are executed with an artistic flair so integrated that the audience doesn’t even realize what they are absorbing — themes that are so true to life that they don’t need to be blatant or in-your-face. That alone proves that there must be something more universal to his film, if not just a beautifully crafted set.

From watching the seemingly all-trouble-and-no-luck characters deal with the real issues of unhappiness and grief, to hoping that this young but true love makes it through, this whimsical, plot-driven adventure story is so much more than it seems.  However, if you aren’t the kind of moviegoer who wants to focus on depth of meaning, it can be cherished simply for being an impeccably crafted movie that anyone and everyone could enjoy.

“Moonrise Kingdom” is one hour and 33 minutes long, is rated PG-13, and is currently showing at the Celebration Woodland Cinema. By all means, go treat yourself and watch this movie again.

About the Author

Colleen Keehl

Colleen Keehl is the Chimes Arts and Entertainment editor for the 2012-13 school year.

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