Last Saturday I finally had the opportunity to see Wes Anderson’s latest film “Moonrise Kingdom” at College Square. Like most of his films (“Life Aquatic” being the one that disinterests me), I sat and watched and was drawn in by its cleverness and quirkiness, but wasn’t fully wowed. After the film ended I left the theater and continued to think about it over the rest of the day and weekend. I came to like it more in hindsight than I did in the theater. It’s rare when that happens, but there you go.
The film is about Sam, a kid who flees a scout camp on the small fictitious island of New Penzance off the New England coast during the summer of 1965 for a romantic rendezvous with Suzy, a girl who caught his eye at a church play one year prior (a stage production of “Noye’s Fludde, which is actually an opera).
A search crew is assembled, consisting of the scoutmaster (Edward Norton), the local police captain (Bruce Willis), Suzy’s parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand) and, later, a social services worker (Tilda Swinton, in all her iciness). I liked the leads, Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, and I thought Willis did a good job portraying an adult who genuinely seemed to care about Sam’s predicament (there is a subplot regarding his foster family… but I don’t want to give it away).
Anderson has a particular, signature fondness for tracking shots, which are used so extensively that, I almost have to admit, I became slightly annoyed by it. But it’s a trivial complaint for an otherwise sweet, charming story about two kids’ first attempt at romance and escapism.