Movie Notes: Moonrise Kingdom

Wes Anderson's films look at the world sideways and through the bizarre, show us what we’re missing in the routine. Moonrise Kingdom uses this formula to unearth some wonderful insights into something as routine as human love.

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

Directed by Wes Anderson. With Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray.

We stumbled upon Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom tonight by pure happenstance. We always expect the unexpected with Anderson’s films. The Royal Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Rushmore top my favorite movie list because they look at the world sideways and through the bizarre, show us what we’re missing in the routine. Moonrise Kingdom uses this formula to unearth some wonderful insights into something as routine as human love.

Anderson’s films have a primitive quality to them. The setups and cinematography remind me of the three minute action adventure films my brother and I used to make with my dad’s 8mm camera when we were 12. This type of movie making can’t rely on polished effects or complex plot lines to carry them. You show the viewer just what you see through the lens and that alone must communicate all the depth you intend. Opposite the lens in Moonrise Kingdom are two awkward, quirky 12 year olds who clearly were put on this planet to be with each other and seek to fulfill that destiny with uninhibited passion. In the process, they challenge us to do the same and help us realize how settling for less makes us fools.

Even more instructive is the juxtaposition of the kid’s uninhibited love and their adventure of an open future rife with possibility against the ennui the parents have settled into. We pity the parents and find it ugly and regrettable and at the same time we’re envious of what the kids have found and of their ability to pursue it with reckless abandon.

I expected my mid-40s to be a time in life where my circumstances and worldview would be pretty stable and comfortably predictable but, thankfully, just the opposite has happened. The world just seems to be opening up in ways I could not possibly have anticipated. Moonrise Kingdom is a searing reminder of just how intoxicating this ought to be.

I’d score this movie 9 out of 10 stars for a brilliant screenplay, wonderful acting, a great score and beautiful cinematography.

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