Quirky Characters Learning Love
Release Date: May 25, 2012
Starring: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward,
Bruce Willis, Bill Murray
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 94 minutes
Director: Wes Anderson
Executive Producer: Sam Hoffman
Producer: Wes Anderson, Jeremy Dawson,
Steven Rales, Scott Rudin
Writer: Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola
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A first love of two young preteens is portrayed in Wes Anderson’s MOONRISE KINDGOM. As is typical for Wes Anderson, the movie features high irony and dysfunctional characters, but somehow it all comes together to make a comical, very observant film.
Sam is an emotionally disturbed preteen who lives in a wilderness camp, until one day he goes missing. For a long time, Sam has been pen pals with Suzy after meeting her in the back of a church during a church production of Noah’s Ark. As the letters continued to pass between them, Suzy shared that she’s depressed and doesn’t enjoy her family, while Sam shared the fact that he’s an orphan. The two grew closer together. They decide to leave their normal lives behind and take an adventure together to go hiking.
When Sam and Suzy go missing, the Camp Director leads his campers to find them, even though Sam wasn’t popular with the other children because of his emotionally instability. As the search is underway, the campers end up finding Sam and Suzy and demand to take them back to civilization, but Suzy acts out in rage and stabs the camper who’s been Sam’s nemesis. This is a clear display of Suzy’s uncontrollable rage that occurs and the reason her parents have difficulty dealing with her.
Able to get away from the campers, Suzy and Sam continue their hike. They eventually land in the spot where they dreamed to be. Sam sets up camp, and the two declare their love of each other. They share things they never shared with anyone else, and experience a first kiss. Not far behind, however, is Suzy’s family, the police officer, the campers, and the scout master warden, who tells them they can’t be together due to their troubled character.
As is the way in Anderson’s films, MOONRISE KINGDOM shows troubled people, makes them appealing, and laughs at the situation. The movie is done in the Anderson tone – faded colors to portray a nostalgic time and quirky in the look and feel of the set. The character development drives MOONRISE KINGDOM and ultimately leads to an entertaining film.
MOONRISE KINDGOM has a mixed worldview. It includes church scenes, but has an overall ironic feel to it with broken people. Each main character is depressed or dealing with something negative and trying to piece together their life in some way. In the end, however, many of the characters decide to make the right decision. The spiritual tone and connotations of composer Leonard Cohen’s famous sarcastic song “Hallelujah” play at a major climactic moment in the movie.
The character development drives MOONRISE KINGDOM. It leads to an entertaining and well-done movie. As in other Wes Anderson movies, MOONRISE KINGDOM shows troubled people, makes them appealing, and laughs at their situations. MOONRISE KINDGOM has a mixed worldview. It includes church scenes, but has an overall ironic feel to it. Each broken character is depressed or dealing with something negative and trying to piece together their life. In the end, however, many of the characters make the right decision.