Moonrise Kingdom (2012) (PG-13)

Wes Anderson's 1960s romance/comedy "Moonrise Kingdom" was a beloved indie project from 2012 that, regrettably, went unnoticed at the Oscars expect for a screenwriting nomination. It deserved more for its style, cinematography, score, and possibly its two leading actors.
"Moonrise Kingdom" tells the story of two young lovers who travel through the emotional and physical hardships or a relationship in just a few days. Sam and Suzy met once and had an instant connection, they started writing each other and soon hatch a scheme to run away together.
But their plan is soon to be foiled but adults who don't understand their need for freedom. Both Sam and Suzy feel constrained because of the adults around them and so they go out in the country on New Penzance Island and attempt to live for a few days—adult free.
What "Moonrise Kingdom" does is not only create a great and original story, but also take time to parody many genres. Sam and Suzy are the Bonnie and Clyde type—emotionally wounded, yet still feisty and ready for whatever comes their way.
They are being pursued by the members of Camp Ivanhoe, in particularly Scout Master Ward and his posse of followers. You see, Sam was a member of the Khaki Scouts and he ran away, leaving his resignation behind him. Ward takes a military stance on his camp and he won't tolerate any deserters.
Then there's Captain Sharp who finds it his duty to find both Sam and Suzy and return them to both their parents.
Sam and Suzy navigate their way through the island, running away from the Khaki Scouts on their tail and surviving on the wealth of the land. Sam is determined to use all of his scout skills and does so to humorous extents. Suzy is the reader of the two and brings fantasy novels with her to read on the trip. But they don't know that both a metaphorical and physical storm is coming.
"Moonrise Kingdom" is refreshingly droll. Wes Anderson enjoys having all his actors speak in a dry monotone, almost devoid of any emotion. It's a shout-out to noir—dry and full of irony.
True to form, Anderson employs a huge cast: Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, regular Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, and Bob Balaban. Anderson also introduces Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward as Sam and Suzy, who are the central characters in the movie.
Sam and Suzy act like the adults in the film and the adults—like children. It's the adult versus children aspect of the movie that makes it so enjoyable and fanciful.
The kids are the heroes of the movie—"Moonrise Kingdom" is an adventure movie that takes its viewer on the ride with Sam and Suzy. It may be surprisingly mature and childishly naive in the same sentence.
"Moonrise Kingdom" is one of a kind.

Score: 4 out of 4 stars

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