12 Year Old Lovers Escape Into the Woods, Get Married

Fans of cult faves Rushmore and The Royal Tennenbaums already know manchild writer/director Wes Anderson has a gift for constructing fanciful worlds in which strange and unexpected things not only happen, but thanks to Mr. Anderson’s creative art (and the efforts of a talented cast), make a weird, unlikely kind of sense.

Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman in character in  Moonrise Kingdom

So when socially alienated youngsters Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward) run off into the woods and get “married” by Sam’s cousin, Ben (Jason Schwartzman) it doesn’t feel creepy and exploitative. Instead the relationship between the two kids in Moonrise Kingdom feels  innocent, charming and unexpectedly tender. 

Wes Anderson’s  latest is now on DVD

It helps that Anderson has discovered two young talents – film newcomers Gilman and Hayward – who thoroughly buy into the premise. Sam is an orphan misunderstood by his peers. Suzy cannot relate to her lawyer parents – Walt (Bill Murray) and Laura (Frances McDormand) Bishop – or her three younger brothers. Sam and Suzy each sense that they have found a soul mate when they first meet backstage at a local production.

Anderson gets a marvelous performance out of (of all people) Bruce Willis.

Bruce Willis as inactive hero Captain Sharp

His character here, a melancholy middle-aged sheriff carrying on a listless affair with Laura, is the polar opposite of the cool, wisecracking heroes he usually plays. (But don’t despair, action fans!  Another Die Hard sequel is in the works.)

Edward Norton is also cast against type as an ineffectual Scout Troop leader. (Yes, this is the same actor who plays a vicious skinhead in American X.)

Bill Murray essentially recycles the sad clown persona that has characterized his latter day career. That’s not necessarily a criticism (although I still think he watches too many Buster Keaton movies).  Ms. McDormand seems remarkably at home here (perhaps that is because the film, in many ways, feels like a Coen Brothers flick. )

Meet the Parents: Frances McDormand and Bill Murray as Walt and Laura Bishop.

 The setting is New Penzance Island. Don’t bother to Google it. Anderson invented it. The only map it appears on is the one below.

This is Anderson’s first period film. Moonrise Kingdom is set in 1965, a naive era, in retrospect, when people really did believe that all you need is love. (Expect Oscar nominations for costume design, makeup and art direction).

However, he has lost none of his flair for quirky characters and droll wit.

LAURA (Frances McDormand): “Does it concern you that your daughter’s just ran away from home?”

WALT (Bill Murray): “That’s a loaded question.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….    

SAM (Jared Gilman) to SUZY (Kara Hayward): “Poems don’t have to rhyme, y’know. They’re just supposed to be creative.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

LAURA: “We women are more emotional …. ”                                                           

SUZY:  “I hate you!”     

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

COUSIN BEN (Jason Schwartzman) makes SAM an offer he can’t refuse: “There’s a cold water crabber moored off Broken Rocks. The skipper owes me an IOU. We’ll see if he can take you on as a claw cracker. It won’t be an easy life but it’s better than electroshock therapy.” 

  

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s