King Me

I was fully prepared to wait a while for Wes Anderson's new movie Moonrise Kingdom. I popped it into the "Saved" section of my Netflix queue, where it would linger until it took its place at the end of long list of available discs. By happenstance, a friend of mine suggested catching a late night showing of it at the Tivoli, so I actually got to see it before it's been discussed to death, then forgotten by the culture at large. How refreshing!

This movie fits nicely into the Wes Anderson oeuvre. If you're generally a fan of his movies, you'll like this one. If you think he's twee and pretentious, you'll think this is twee and pretentious. I enjoyed it; if I had seen it later, it's very possible that over-generous hype would have somewhat ruined it. As it is, it may just be my second-favorite of Anderson's movies (just below The Royal Tenenbaums).

In Moonrise Kingdom, an unpopular, nerdy boy scout and a troubled, violent girl form an easy friendship and a blossoming romance. Convinced that nobody would understand them, they plan a getaway, and hide in the woods of the small island that they both live on. The local adults, from the scoutmaster to the police chief to the girl's parents, are hot on their heels. That's the basic structure, which is made a lot deeper by some impressive acting. Frances McDormand, Bill Murray, and Tilda Swinton are always reliably good, and Bruce Willis fits impressively well into this group as the mild-mannered police chief. Edward Norton gives my favorite performance as the lonely scoutmaster who fills his time by being hyper-capable and stern about his scouting duties.

Add in some gorgeous set locations, excellent music (Quick aside: This movie features Benjamin Britten's "Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra", and weaves it in thematically, which delighted me. I played that piece in college, and enjoyed the hell out of it, even if the viola part is a bit subdued), and Anderson's patented quirkiness, and you've got a pretty charming little film.

Moonrise Kingdom: B+


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