Review – Moonrise Kingdom

Before the tsunami of hormones hit pre-teens, there is a period of time where children can revel in their final days of really being a kid. Most people can probably reflect on those last days of being a youngster and their first great love before the age of lust. ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ is an affectionate tribute to childhood romance laced with melancholy.

Set in the 1960s, a young boy and girl who live on a small island of the coast of New England fall in love and run away together.

‘Moonrise Kingdom’ is the seventh film from writer/director Wes Anderson and it’s an absolute delight. The ‘quirky’ label gets thrown around a lot when it comes to Anderson’s filmmaking but his style perfectly matches the film that presents itself like a fond memory. The dollhouse like environments and fog of sepia that hangs over every shot adds to the feeling that Anderson is projecting his own childhood memories.

The plot starts as a simple tale of love that evolves into something much greater. The superb filmmaker John Hughes always understood, and presented in his films, how children and teenagers were more acute to their situation in life despite their age. Anderson taps into the magic of Hughes with young characters that are innocent but wise to the machinations of life and there is a hidden sadness in their plight. What makes the film extend beyond the child’s play of the runaways is how the story is well layered across the adult characters and how they are affected by the incident.

As always in an Anderson film, the oddities of the situations, reactions and exchanges between characters are where a lot of the humour comes from in ‘Moonrise Kingdom’. The refreshing wit from Anderson and co-writer Roman Coppola’s screenplay revives faith in comedy without someone hovering over a toilet bowl.

The two leads Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward make a great pairing and their performances are sweet and genuine, and that goes for all of the child actors in the film. Edward Norton is the standout adult but it’s an impressive supporting cast with terrific work from Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand, Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman.

‘Moonrise Kingdom’ is a hit of nostalgia in 50 shades of brown.


Cameron Williams
The Popcorn Junkie

‘Moonrise Kingdom’ is released:

25 May 2012 UK and USA

30 August 2012 Australia