Movie review: ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ a refuge for eccentrics and outcasts
There’s a precise, jewelbox quality to Wes Anderson’s films that – depending on your point of view – is either all too fussy, coy and aggravatingly precious or surpassingly cool, meticulously handcrafted and transcendently eccentric and profound.
From his debut feature, the chill road movie “Bottle Rocket,” through his offbeat one-two masterworks, “Rushmore” and “The Royal Tenenbaums,” to his recent, philosophically complex venture into animation, “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” Anderson’s pictures have proven themselves as unique, singular and multi-faceted as Faberge eggs. Not everyone appreciates their ornateness, but no one can deny their exacting artfulness.
A proudly quirky stylist and boho visionary, Anderson holds true to his fascination with eccentrics and outcasts in his new film, “Moonrise Kingdom,” a poetic storybook look at young love in all its naïve bliss and confusion.
Set on a typically Andersonian (read that: idealized) island called New Penzance off the craggy coast of Rhode Island in late summer of 1965, the tale follows the romantic travails of two 12-year-old misfits – orphaned camping fanatic Sam (Jared Gilman) and the worldly material girl Suzy (Kara Hayward).
New Penzance is the home of Camp Ivanhoe, a summer compound of yellow-neckerchiefed Khaki Scouts and their droll, chain-smoking Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton). Ward runs a tidy camp where a quasi-military esprit d’ corps motivates a colorful cadre of boys with nicknames like “Lazy Eye” and “Gadge.”
Gawky, bespectacled Sam is the runt among this troop of robust youth, an unpopular outcast who has formed a pen-pal relationship with local gal Suzy. She is a pint-sized sophisticate who is having her own alienation issues with her uptight, unhappy parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand).
Anderson and co-writer Roman Coppola neatly set the stage with fairy-tale strangeness, and soon Sam and Suzy conspire to run away together to a remote, idyllic corner of the island. Sam, in coonskin cap, hauls along a survivalist’s cache of camping gear, while Suzy packs library books, binoculars, a kitten in a wicker creel, a portable record player and her favorite 45rpm record by Francoise Hardy.
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