Film review: ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ starring Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward

Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman in 'Moonrise Kingdom'
Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman in 'Moonrise Kingdom'
Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman in ‘Moonrise Kingdom’

Moonrise Kingdom
Director: Wes Anderson
Starring: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Bob Balaban

Rated: 9/10

There’s an inescapable landing between unimpeded childhood and the grown-up world with all of its resident angst and constraint, and it’s often aptly coined as the summer when everything changes. That middle place is Moonrise Kingdom.

Wes Anderson’s latest film is New England summer romance, circa 1965, at its most awkward and enviable. Two precocious twelve-year old misfits Suzy and Sam (Hayward and Gilman) fall in love, run off together and hide away much to the alarm of everyone else on the island. Naturally, New Penzance goes from zero to nuts over the pair of missing dropouts, and to give matters urgency a tropical storm is moving in.

Bruce Willis, Harvey Keitel, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman and Tilda Swinton dazzle with Andersonesque quirk; Suzy’s lawyer parents (Murray and McDormand) refer to each other as ‘counselor’ and Scout master (Norton) orbits his troops–cigarette in hand–ridiculously aloof. Meanwhile, newcomers Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman grapple on-screen with the logistics of a genuine first kiss.

Our heroes’ quest to be married–to grow together and leave all their troubles of youth behind. Although not actually a licensed clergyman, Cousin Ben (Schwartzman) is happy to facilitate this end.

With usual strokes of ironic genius and poetic sensibility, Anderson shoots this newest, less complicated world full of half-baked plans, adventure books, knee socks, Cover Girl eye shadow and weary, clueless adults through a lens of honey-tinted filtration making Moonrise Kingdom sensory escapism of the sweetest kind: an unattainable has-been summer paradise where the viewer’s inner adolescent longs to return and hide.

Lorri Vodi Rupard grew up in Toronto but now resides in Salt Lake City where she studies creative fiction and writes content. Her work appears in The Montreal Review, The Black Boot, Kalon Women and Anemone Sidecar. Lorri won first place in the 2011 UWIF short screenplay contest. Visit her website.