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The International Writers Magazine: Film

Moonrise Kingdom
Directed by Wes Anderson
Written by Wes Anderson and Roman Copppola
Starring Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman with Ed Norton, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand and many more
• Sam Hawksmoor review

In what must be Wes Anderson’s most complete and coherent movie yet, Moonrise Kingdom arrives and is like a perfect summer picnic.  It works on so many levels. A perfect kids movie in which an orphan boy scout goes missing at the same time a young girl on the island they are camping on disappears. There doesn’t seem to be any possible connection but there is.  The girl, enigmatic, strange, deeply attached to her binoculars knows the world isn't right - that she doesn't quite fit in. The boy, Sam is disliked by all. Two rejects attracted to one another - but could they have possible met?


Sam is resourceful, determined to make it right across the island to find the girl, everything planned to the nth degree.  In the adult movie the runaways expose an affair between the runaway’s girl’s mother and the island police Captain (Bruce Willis a lonely man living in a caravan) and meanwhile the narrator's voice (Bob Balaban) warns us that the weather is going to change pretty soon and disaster will strike.

I loved the characterisations, the small incidental wit and observations.  1965 never quite seemed so alive or so far back in the mist of time.  Or Social Services ever so menacing.  Island life and island time are perfectly captured and the people are different to the mainland with smaller worries. Anderson doesn't try for social realism, this is someone remembering a time with a great deal of affection and not a little wryness.

Jared GilmanBill Murray The ensemble cast do all they have to – quite perfectly – nothing over the top.  Ed Norton plays it very straight, as they all do and that is perfect too but – the movie belongs to the scout troop and the young lovers traipsing over the island with a battery powered record player (with one Francoise Hardy disc) a suitcase full of favourite kids books and one kitten.

It’s cute, funny, innocent and doesn’t let you down.  Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward will be seen again no doubt about it.
Catch it before it evaporates under the weight of summer blockbusters.
© Sam Hawksmoor June 2012
author of The Repossession & The Hunting

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