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Thanks to two appealing juvenile leads, Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" succeeds in engaging and sometimes moving us. Set in coastal New England in 1965, it is about two misfit thirteen-year-olds who fall in love (each, it seems, intuiting the other's "misfittedness") and decide to run away together and set up a home/camp where they can live isolated from the world of their parents and other adult authorities. Since the boy, Sam, has survival skills (he runs away from a scout camp) and the girl, Suzy, is as resourceful in her way (she brings the scissors and other things), they do pretty well. Suzy's parents are two lawyers (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand) who seem as indifferent to each other as they are to their children, and their marital conversation is mainly about the cases they're working on. The fact that the mother communicates with her children via bullhorn is obviously both funny and pointed. Sam is an orphan in foster care, and Edward Norton is the well-meaning scoutmaster of Sam's troop. These three adults and the local sheriff (Bruce Willis) are the ones who have to deal with the fact that the young people have run off.

All of that seems ordinary enough, but Anderson frames the story in interesting ways, both visually and dramaturgically. The adult world of the scout camp and Suzy's home is presented in terms of a high degree of linear organization: rooms are boxy and behaviour is regimented to a cartoonish extent, and the regimentation of the scout troop is very clear, and the impression that the viewer gets is of two young people trying to get away from life in a cartoon and escape into something more authentic. The parents and scoutmaster are emotionally incompetent to a comic degree, and the only adult who seems to have an inkling of the kind of freer life the young people want is the sheriff, who in a climactic scene faces down Social Services. Tilda Swindon literally calls herself "Social Services" and that tells us all we need to know about the "flattening" of most of the adult figures in the movie. Swindon is marvelous in the role, and Bruce Willis as her antagonist gives a performance of great charm. Bill Murray here has a role that fits well with his usual deadpan affectless schtick, but he remains, for me at least, a very limited actor. In the course of the movie most of the adults unfreeze to some extent. McDormand, who is presented as being drawn to the sheriff, has a touching scene with her daughter at the end.

Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward are Sam and Suzy. Neither actually says "There must be more to life than this" as they view the adult world, but the seriousness with which they take both their escape (very carefully planned) and their affection is both funny and endearing. They are trying to act as the kind of adults that they want to be -- not the kinds of adults who have shaped their lives thus far. The deadpan seriousness with which they take all this is funny -- they even go through a form of marriage and unembarassedly acknowledge their sexual feelings, which seem to them to have nothing to do with their love, which has more to do with their mutual recognition as misfits. The young actors pull off Anderson's conceptions of their characters just about perfectly. One way of understanding them, I think, is to say that they want a narrative, and it's no accident that Suzy takes half-a-dozen storybooks along on the escape, and we see her read aloud from them on several occasions. This perhaps clues us to the idea that adult life in the movie has stopped -- it has no ongoing story, at least as far as the young people can perceive, and no story means no future, so they decide to create their own. Maybe with the onset of adolescence we all do this -- adolescent "rebellion" is a bit of a cliche, but here Anderson manages to find a fresh way of representing it. Maybe too the allusions to Britten's children's opera "Noyes Flood" (based on a medieval drama about Noah) are deployed to suggest this: the flood (looked at in one way) is a chance for a new start, and it is seeing Suzy dressed for the part of a raven in a local performance of the opera that wins Sam's heart, so to speak. The movie ends after its own flood (a hurricane), and if Bob Balaban, the narrator who frames the whole story, is to be believed, it ushers in a sense of renewal that extends even to the crops in subsequent years. With that suggestion, Anderson reminds us of the apparent natural magic of renewal, not only in the natural cycle but in the revelations that can follow crises in narratives. (To put it like that sounds heavy-handed, but the movie itself avoids the portentousness that thematic analysis is prone to fall into!)

I'll avoid spoilers, and say nothing about the fact that there are really two escapes, the details of the storm, the scout troop's pursuit of the runaways, or the sheriff's defense of Sam. It's a comic movie, finally, and it clocks in at just about 90 minutes, so it doesn't drag. The degree of stylization with which the adult world is presented keeps us at the distance required to appreciate both the pains of growing up, the dangers of having grown up, and the need to keep open the possibility of change and (if we're lucky) growth.
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on 2 June 2014
Bought this to watch with my grandchildren (10 and 12 years old) during their half term holidays. We all loved it and it kept our attention all the way through. A lovely and engrossing film which I would thoroughly recommend.
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on 13 February 2014
To be honest, I really did not know what to make of this film after the first watching.
I enjoyed it, but didn't find it that funny!!!!
The performances from the leads - Willis, Norton, Swinton and Murray are rather sublime but it's the strangely enigmatic acting from the 'young newbies' Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward that steal the show as two pubescent children taking comfort and solace in each others company as they escape the strangeness of their lives. Pursued by their respective so-called "responsible adults", (that's the funny bit, I suppose?), they desperately try to find consolation in an effort to make some sense out of their muddled lives.
I had to watch it three times before I could come to a conclusion - it is a good film; in my opinion a very thought provoking one.
Perhaps I took it too seriously? However, I found it hard not too!
Good film - not what I expected, but I think I got much more out of it because of this.
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VINE VOICEon 13 January 2013
Billed as Wes Anderson's return to live action film after a five year absence, Moonrise Kingdom has a starry (if slightly hip) cast and an interesting sounding story to tell. Anderson has a leftfield approach to cinema which nods towards the arty which has made him one of the more interesting and adventurous directors working in mainstream Hollywood cinema. What we get is a strange and touching portrait of first love against the odds.

Despite a big name cast the stars of this film are the two young leads, Kara Haywood and Jared Gilman, who play a couple of children who meet briefly one summer whilst Gilman's character is camping on the island where Haywood lives. One year on they plan to meet again running away to a remote part of the island to spend a week together. Upon this discovery the adults and the rest of the scout campers (who don't really like the boy) set off to find them. The story has a twist in that all are unaware of the fact that a severe storm is just 48 hours from hitting land and creating havoc.

This is a gently played film in which the adults all seem to have exaggerated personas which fits the idea that the film not only has child protagonists but also sees the rest of the world from their point of view. The effect is sometimes comic but it is charming throughout. It is a little disorientating but if you're prepared to let yourself go with it, this is a gem of a film.

The young leads are slightly awkward and faintly dysfuntional and played excellently. Their love for each other is strong and filled with innocence. The adults seem more troubled people Edward Norton, as the scout leader, is particularly excellent and Bruce Willis, playing the island's only law enforcement, puts in a nicely understated performance. Frances McDormand plays the mother convincingly and seems the only adult capable of rational thought. There's also a lovely cameo from Tilda Swinton as a meniacal Social Services officer, to highlight a few of the excellent performances.

There's the usual imaginative camerawork and the set (as in all of Anderson's films) has the effect of being played in a doll's house. However many times this is done it remains a jawdroppingly clever visual effect. The film will seem slow in its pacing to some. It builds on the story and its charm, more than pace and action. That said the climax does have a real sense of drama and excitement.

Moonrise Kingdom is a lovely story (nominated for an Oscar for the screenplay) and a beautiful evocation of the innocence of your first love. It's execution is quirky and offbeat and is wonderfully bought to life by Wes Anderson.
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on 24 May 2014
A lovely film, suitable for any age, with the two principals acting without affectation, just nice kids. The supporting cast was seiously funny. I enjoyed this nfilm for its innocence and convicyion
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on 24 April 2014
This is a great film and typical of Wes Anderson's usual style and humour so if you like his movies, you wont be disappointed! There's a great adult cast who hold the whole thing together but the child actors do a great job in the two lead roles too. The story is relatively simple, but if you're looking for a good laugh and some odd humour then you'll enjoy this!
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on 17 February 2013
I only came upon this film by chance and wow what a surprise it was breathtaking. From opening credits to end credits we sat amazed by the stunning visual feast and the story was pretty cool too. I have since shared this film with a number of people who have all had the same reaction it's awesome see it people and wonder at why the crap that makes money in the big screens s nowhere near as good as this lost gem.
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Once again Wes Anderson delights with a film that is visually striking, quirky, on the surface a whole lot of fun but with a dark undertone.

It tells the story of two children, one a troubled orphan and the other the daughter of a very odd couple indeed, who run away together on a small island just days before a hurricane hits. It's typical Wes Anderson though. The characters all verge on the surreal, with lots of quirks and tics between them. As so often the case with Anderson the characters all have difficulties relating to other people, and the film is as much about their attempts to be a part of or apart from society as anything else. But for all their oddness, their almost caricatured personalities, there is something utterly believable about each character. There is something I recognised either in myself or in people I know in each depiction.

The two adventure across the island, pursued by the girl's parents (Anderson regular Bill Murray and Frances McDormand), the Police in the form of Bruce Willis (in one of his best ever screen performances) and a scout troupe led by Edward Norton (in a role that demands and gets a degree of subtlety in order to portray a troubled man finding himself) and Tilda Swinton as a very creepy Social Services. Despite the big name cast, the show is stolen by the two child leads, Kara Haywood and Jared Gilman who dominate the picture with a great deal of charm.

Another stand out feature, for me anyway, was the soundtrack. The music is well chosen, good use is made of several Benjamin Britten pieces which are worked into the plot, and there is some Hank Williams thrown in with a particularly apt song for the film, Kaw-Liga, along with a few other well chosen tracks. Anyone who manages to include Britten and Williams in the same soundtrack and make it all fit together is a bit of a genius.

It's a film that tells a great story, and shows some interesting characters as they develop into more rounded people. It's quirky, funny and at times moving. I have to say that despite it being based around two children I think its Wes Anderson's most mature and accomplished film.
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This was a magical film for children and adults. It takes a little magical thinking to transplant yourself back to adolescence. This story all begins on an island, and no one else seems to live there but the people involved.

Suzy, played by Kara Howard lives with her family on this island. She seems to be the 'difficult' one in the family. On the same island is a Boy Scout camp, where Sam, played by Jared Gilman, an orphan, also seems to be the odd man out. No one seems to like him, and strangely he and Suzy met last summer and have planned a rendezvous to run away together. This sets the wheels in motion for an adolescence hunt by some very strange people. Bill Murray plays Suzy's father, and Frances McDormand plays her mother. Any film with McDormand amd Murray is sure to be a great one. We also have Bruce Willis playing the Island Policeman, Scoutman Ward payed by Ed Norton, and SocialServices played by Tilda Swinton. All these characters lead to an often time humorous film that deals with the turmoil of adolescence, the goodness of scouting, and the trials and tribulations of life.

This film is all played with straight faces, none for laughs, and the children are as superb as the adults. Wes Anderson has put together a film for us all, shining examples of life as we remember it.

Recommended. prisrob 04-07-13
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on 23 May 2013
The Indy style movie has become so popular, major studios have copied it. This film has a well written script, effective sound track, excellent acting, background distractions, and of course quirky memorable characters. The film might may be best classified as a light drama, leaning toward comedy.

In this 1965 tale two misfit 12 year kids conspire to run off together. Sam (Jared Gilman) is a teased orphan scout. Suzy (Kara Hayward) is the daughter of two lawyers. They live on a New England island. A search party for the two missing youths is lead by "sad dumb policeman" Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis). Captain Sharp is having an affair with the mother of Suzy (Frances McDormand). Bill Murray plays the rather straight husband.

There is a scene where the two youths get close to each that made me uncomfortable for a moment. Fortunately the scene didn't last long and the film returned to its quirky self, with bits of dark comedy. While it is PG-13, I wouldn't want my 13 year old to watch it. It might give them ideas.

This is Kara Haywood's first full length film. I see a great career for her.

Parental Guide: No f-bombs, sex, or nudity. Kara Haywood in bra/undies. Some groping.
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