Quote of the Day:
“I’m on your side.” –Sam, to Suzy Moonrise Kingdom
TB went to see Moonrise Kingdom at the movies last night. I heartily endorse.
It is a story about two twelve year old children living on a small island in 1965, different, disaffected, perceptive, and misunderstood. They connected the summer before and became pen pals. Eventually, they decide to run away together, for a week or so. The girl wants to flee her dysfunctional family and the boy has no family, but wants to leave his Scout troop since nobody in the group can stand him. They set off together, camping along an old Indian trail at several beautiful spots, most particularly an unnamed secluded cove, eluding the frantic search party of the town cop (Bruce Willis), the girl’s parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand), the Scout Leader (Edward Norton Jr.) and the whole scout troop.
That’s the plot. It has nothing to do with why this movie is a must-see. You must see it because director Wes Anderson (The Dejarling Limited, The Royal Tennenbaums) is the absolute master of the blank stare humor genre. You should see it because the cast of A-listers (including Tilda Swinton as “Social Services”) is quietly hilarious and the two kids at the center of the story (Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward) are able to not only hold their own, but lead the movie. You should see it because of the soundtrack, blending Hank Williams songs with orchestral music for children, and for the awkward periods without any music at all. You should see it for the scenery and the cinematography. Some scenes were shot to look like the movie was made in 1965. Others capture the beauty of an adventure loving child’s-eye view of summertime New England island life.
Beyond all that, Moonrise Kingdom is mostly about the intersection of loneliness, perseverance, and hope. Most of us have been there. Some of you may yet be. It is a hard and unbearably sad place. Yet somehow, Wes Anderson makes thinking about it bearable, reminding us of our commonality in our secret scars, reminding that people we know are often struggling in ways we can’t know, and in some ways, from a certain point of view, it can be kind of funny, even uplifting.