Love during adolescence, identifiable. With Wes Anderson behind the camera, Moonrise Kingdom is about love between two troubled adolescents, Suzy and Sam. Their need to run away from the world into the arms of true love might feel over-the-top but their imagination, their ideas and the innocence in their actions will certainly charm the pants off you.
The Plot: Staring through her binoculars Suzy (Kara Hayward) seems lost, alone, lonely. But you know she has some secret the moment she receives her mail and well, she hides it. Her brothers listen to music, mother works, father reads, but all Suzy does is stare through her binoculars. At what? On the other hand, Sam (Jared Gilman) is missing from the Scout Camp of Troop 55. Where is he? Why did he “resign” from the scout camp?
As you chew on this, other things start to unfurl. Suddenly you see Sam through the binoculars. That’s strange, do they know each other? Clearly, yes! Sam and Suzy are pen pals with a troubled life in common. Sam, an orphan and Suzy, an aggressive, mildly crazy child, decide to run away (for ten days) on a whim. Sam is a good scout, he knows his ropes, he knows to cook and catch fish (he even makes earrings for Suzy from fish hooks); Suzy on the other hand, looks prim with her several bags but she is actually the genuine book-worm. You would think that all those suitcases she lugs around hold millions of shoes, clothes and makeup stuff. But in truth, all she has are books.
While this young couple is blissfully oblivious to the world, enjoying their innocent trek, the scout master, his scout mates, her parents and a lone policeman, Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis) are on the look-out for the runaways. Several attempts at capturing the couple fail but eventually they are discovered and brought back home. Sam’s foster parents, tired of his behavior, give up on him and he will now be sent to Social Services (Tilda Swinton). The camp mates, who for some unknown reason hate Sam, are suddenly impressed by his bravery and the fact that he is an orphan. They decide to help. More scouts go missing, and what follows is utter confusion (in a good way).
The Good: It is hard to imagine something so real coming from Wes Anderson, but well, he proves it yet again probably after his 1998 film Rushmore. The film is beautifully made, like a water colour painting. The illustrations and the paintings used in the film are also wonderfully warm. Locations are very exciting and you want to be in that camp at that very minute. Set in 1965, the movie literally transports you back to that era.
Bruce Willis has a very small role, but he does complete justice to it. Edward Norton as the Scout Master Ward is very adorable, strict, goofy as well as sweet. Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman, the lovely leads are the true stars of the film. They look so pure, act so naturally and make everything feel so real; it is beautiful. Simple actions like her reading aloud a book to him while he sleeps with a miniature pipe in his mouth, which she gently removes or their more adult-like actions of trying to French kiss, ooze innocence. Oh, and not to mention, the movie will make you smile and even laugh at some points.
To add to all this is the mindblowing soundtrack. Alexandre Desplat’s The heroic weather conditions of the Universe which plays in the background fits the movie’s mood. Le temps de l’amour by Francoise Hardy is another masterpiece.
The Bad: At some points, the movie moves too slowly, making the film seem far too long. You’ve been warned – this may be too arty for those inclined towards fast moving commercialism.
Overall: If you’ve loved and lived your childhood reading Blyton and company, and thought that one day you would solve a mystery, or camp through the unknown woods or just run off to some island, Moonrise Kingdom will transport you to that time.
– By Priyanka Ketkar