Random Movie Review: Moonrise Kingdom

Looking at IMDB, the release date on this film was June 29th, 2012, which might explain why it never got on my radar. It’s not the sort of movie to cross onto Thai shores, and I’m not a Wes Anderson fan (not because I don’t like his movies, he’s just not a director for whom I pick up all of his work).

I’m sad that I’m a year behind on this. It its a fantastic movie.

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General and Epilepsy

Honestly, I’d like to leave epilepsy out of this completely, as I don’t want to turn anyone off the film, but there were points in the storm scenes that played with my eyes. I wouldn’t call it a risk, but — as I so often do — I would tell photosensitive viewers to have a certain amount of caution. I’ve also read a few people (mainly on the IMDB forum) mention the soundtrack being overpowering enough to give them headaches to the point where they left the theatre. I did not have this problem, but that might be attributed to the fact that I watched it on my home television. I found the soundtrack quite fun, actually.

This movie is basically a story where two pre-teens (12 years old) who are unhappy with their homelives, fall in love and runaway together. I’m surprised actually that there aren’t many references to Romeo and Juliet in other discussions since there’s a few similarities. Still, a childhood love story is what we’re dealing with here.

Technical and Actors

For me, this film was something of a visual feast. I love movies that play with colors and lighting. I mention specifically Amalie2046, and Down With Love here. The movie takes place in the 1960s on an island in New England. All of the young boys (sans the Suzy, the girl’s brothers) are some variation of cub scout, so all in uniform olive drab. Suzy’s dresses are colorful and bright. She wears some fantastic pink with a wide, white collar and white knee socks. I was in love with her general wardrobe.

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The lighting is dissolved, which works so much better than in movies like Man of Steel (which I mentioned last week for it’s filming in much the same way), but through a warm filter. If any of you have, or have seen photographs from the 60s and 70s, the style will be very familiar to you.

The soundtrack is also period appropriate, and keep going through the credits, there’s a cute bit with the music there at the end.

As far as the acting goes, this is one of those movies that’s just packed with big names doing a fantastic job. Bruce Willis plays the (caring) island cop (whose crisp, black and white uniform looks great). Bill Murray plays Suzy’s dad, a lawyer, and slightly off balance. Frances McDormand plays Suzy’s mom, also a lawyer; though less off balance, she and her husband barely speak to one another, and they only use formal (usually legal) language. Edward Norton is the island Scout Master, who is in charge of Sam (our boy protag) and Sam’s fellow scouts.

There are also brief (but fabulous) smaller roles. Tilda Swinton plays a social service worker, bent on … uh, helping Sam (who is an orphan), all while rocking a fantastic, bold blue outfit that works well with that red hair.

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I want this cloak so hard.

Jason Schwartzman plays an older Scout, cousin to one of Sam’s fellows, and who has some of the funniest moments in the movie. Bob Balaban is the Narrator, pointing out such things as the weather … well, usually the weather. All while wearing some fantastic red!

The kids who make up the bulk of the cast all do a fantastic job playing children. Not always a certainty. Sam and Suzy manage to be entirely sweet while playing at being adults, lovers who can flee and live on their own (with a can of nickles, because … well, without those nickles we would worry about their future!).

Story:

This, in a way, reminded me of a movie from my childhood, Now & Then, which is a coming of age film for girls in their early teens. (It had Christina Ricci and Devon Sawa … it was pretty impossible for me not to like this movie.) When I was younger I felt completely comfortable with all of what happened in the film. I imagine I’d feel a bit differently now. I find something rather disturbing in watching kids make out. (On film or otherwise, all you do is turn a corner and there they are, all of eleven. Makes me feel old. I know plenty of people who were kissing at that age, but I don’t like to remember that holds true for kids that age NOW. And I’m not even a parent!) There are kids making out in this film, let this serve as a warning for those like me who get a bit creeped out by that.

The basic plot is simple: Boy and Girl fall in love, run away together, get caught, etc etc. As IMDB firmly lists this as a “comedy | drama | romance” I feel safe in not giving anything away by telling you this doesn’t have some awfully tragic ending. Suzy and Sam do not die. But there are family pressures, someone does get stabbed, there are … something like suicide pacts. I feel safe in making a Romeo and Juliet comparison. They were all of 14 or so (Juliet was 14, Romeo was 16? I can’t remember. I realize this is the internet and I could look it up, but … so lazy …)

The adults are to a one very sad characters. Very little joy there. The sweetness of Edward Norton’s Scout Master is sad. Moms and Dads and Police officers are sad. It’s not hard to understand why these children long for the adventure of great love and escape! Suzy has books that explain so well how amazing such adventures can be. And how powerful the love of two teenagers can be (yeah, noting RandJ here, too).

Interesting to Note:

Seriously, Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, and Tilda Swinton are in this movie. How did I not know it existed?!?!

I need a wardrobe revamp. Starting with some fishhook and beetle earrings. Thank goodness for etsy, right?

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