Moonrise Kingdom is another typically quirky and surreal Wes Anderson comedy drama. Joining Bill Murray (an Anderson regular) are Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Bob Balaban and even Harvey Keitel (all playing quirky characters and all doing a commendable job). But none of these actors are the stars of Moonrise Kingdom because this film is primarily a romance about two fourteen-year-olds (Sam and Suzy), played very well by newcomers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward.
Moonrise Kingdom takes place on an island somewhere off the coast of the U.S. In 1965. It has the feel of a 1960s film but could take place anytime. Sam and Suzy are two quirky adolescents who feel trapped by their lives (Sam in a Scout camp, Suzy in a house on the other side of the island) and plan to run away together. When they do so, the mayhem begins, from one end of the island to the other, while the narrator warns of an ominous storm heading their way.
It’s all very silly and sweet and funny and sad and did I mention quirky. It’s beautifully filmed and brilliantly structured. If you like Anderson’s films, you will love this one. Even if you are not an Anderson fan, you will have a hard time not enjoying this delightful film. Not that it’s perfect. The silliness, for example, occasionally gets out of hand. But Moonrise Kingdom gets a solid ***+ and is certainly Anderson’s best film since The Royal Tenenbaums.