Moonrise Kingdom

Where do I even begin with Moonrise Kingdom? Maybe with this quote by writer and director Wes Anderson I read on his IMDB page: “I want to try not to repeat myself. But then I seem to do it continuously in my films. It’s not something I make any effort to do. I just want to make films that are personal, but interesting to an audience. I feel I get criticized for style over substance, and for details that get in the way of the characters. But every decision I make is how to bring those characters forward.”
Well said, my friend, well said.
This film did remind me of Anderson’s other work, The Royal Tenenbaums for example, but that is by no means a bad thing. Moonrise Kingdom stands on its own, but I did think of Tenenbaums while watching it mostly because of the large family of characters and introductory narrative with the camera panning throughout the house.
The family is the Bishops, with Bill Murray as the father Walt and Frances McDormand as the mother, Laura.
Their daughter, Suzy, meets a young “Khaki Scout” named Sam and the story centers on their plan to run away together and the chaos it brings to light for the people surrounding them. Sam and Suzy also fall in love, bringing in the true heart all of Anderson’s films have alongside the challenges he presents for his characters. It all takes place set on an island in 1965 New England where the Bishops live and Khaki Scouts attend Camp Ivanhoe to learn survival skills and work up to attending the regional “hullabaloo” event. (I LOVE that word!)
Back to Anderson’s quote, “I feel I get criticized for style over substance, and for details that get in the way of the characters.” I completely disagree with anyone who would say Anderson’s attention to detail in the style of his films is a distraction from the depth of his characters and their experiences.
I find being able to study each of the set pieces and costumes in one scene while watching the story play out only draws me in more to what’s happening. In Moonrise Kingdom, the music, the pins and badges on each Khaki Scout’s uniform (my favorite being the “Sudo Expert”) and the meaning of each and every line the characters say were all part of the escape into Wes Anderson’s creative mind for me and understanding of what he wants viewers to take away.
I feel I could watch this movie, and any of Anderson’s work for that matter, over and over and pick up some new detail or meaning every time.
Moonrise Kingdom mixes what may seem like fantasy through Anderson’s film-making style with what actually is a very true to heart story.
I think Anderson made all the right decisions in this film, from his cast of regulars and new faces to the facets of the story I know will mean something to each and every person in the audience.
If you choose not to be in that audience, fine, but I think by now Anderson has made it known his mission in film-making and those who complain about it should be forced to watch the sure to be hot mess of That’s My Boy instead.

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