The stars of the film, though, are the 12 year olds Sam (Jared Gilman), a scout in the island’s camp, and Suzy (Kara Hayward), the oldest daughter of the lighthouse keepers. This is the first film role for both of them, and both do quite a good job. Sam makes a Shawshank-like escape from the scout camp and travels across the island to meet Suzy, who has run away from home carrying a heavy suitcase filled with books, records, and a record player. The two had met the summer before and fallen in love at first sight. They exchanged letters over the next year, eventually planning their adventure with each other.
Naturally Sam’s scout master, Suzy’s parents, and even the police captain join in the search for the two of them. They know they can’t really leave the island, but a large storm is going to be hitting the island in a couple of days and there is a sense of urgency to find the two before it hits.
Meanwhile Sam and Suzy reach a pretty cove and camp there for the night. They swim, talk, read books, and he paints her reclining on the beach. (Some troublemakers have tried to scream “child pornography” at these scenes, which only serves to illustrate just how out of touch with reality some people are.) All the scenes with the adolescents are of the innocent love kind, like 1979’s A Little Romance, which is also about adolescents experiencing first love and running off together. If you haven’t seen it, it is a cute film. It stars
Diane Lane in her first feature film role. Only time will tell if Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman enjoy similarly successful careers.
There are a lot more subplots going on in the film with the scout master, the police captain and lighthouse keeper’s wife, with the other scouts, and with Social Services. I won’t try to describe them, except to say that all add to the overall nature of the film.
I heard one self-professed Wes Anderson lover say that he hated
Moonrise Kingdom and that “only people who hate Anderson’s other films would ever like .” The implication is that this latest film is a “sellout” from Moonrise Kingdom , rather than a piece of art to be placed on a pedestal like his earlier films. I don’t agree with this person. Anderson Moonrise Kingdom has many of the elements present in all of ’s films; it is just contained within an appealing story about first love. Anderson
Don’t worry if you have never seen any other film from
Anderson; is self contained. Just keep an open mind about certain things being just a little skewed from reality, but not completely over into the realm of fantasy. Unless this sounds like something you would hate, I highly recommend this film. Moonrise Kingdom
Chip’s Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
DVD Blu-ray Instant Video
DVD Blu-ray Instant Video