Posts Tagged ‘Moonrise Kingdom’


Moonrise-Kingdom-wallpapers-overallsiteWes Anderson specializes in idiosyncratic films rich in detail and populated with dysfunctional people. “Rushmore,” “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” “The Darjeeling Limited” and even his stop motion animated “Fantastic Mr. Fox” are studies in human behavior with liberal doses of humor and melancholy.

Some find his films twee, a bit too clever, but there is real beauty in very one of them and not just in his wonderfully composed shots. What is obvious, particularly in his new film, the coming-of-age “Moonrise Kingdom,” is a love of humanity in all its forms. They maybe eccentric pieces of work, but they’re heartfelt.

The year is 1965, the place is a New England island town called New Penzance. On one side of the island orphan Sam (Jared Gilman) is a twelve-year-old Khaki Scout disliked by the rest of his troupe. He’s unstable, they say. Dangerous. On the other is Suzy (Kara Hayward), an unhappy girl who lives in what looks to be a giant dollhouse with her parents (Bill Murray, Frances McDormand) and three younger brothers. In love, united in their outsider status, they run away, going on an extended camping trip. Search parties are launched—led by the Sheriff (Bruce Willis) and Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton) but true love prevails and these soul mates will not be kept apart.

Adjectives like beautiful and lyrical spring to mind when I recall the movie. Anderson is the anti-David Lynch, a uniquely American filmmaker, a dysfunctional Norman Rockwell who peels back the veneer of typical life not to reveal a seedy underbelly as Lynch does, but the best in human nature.

Anderson’s characters don’t always start in a good place, but circumstance usually pushes them to explore the better side of their psyches.

As usual Anderson brings out nice performances from his cast. Murray returns for this eighth collaboration with the director, Willis puts aside his usual “Die Hard” bravado to play a sad, small town cop and Jason Schwartzman steals the show in a cameo as a fast talking camp councilor. The real stars, however, are Gilman and Hayward, who both hand in complex performances as troubled kids.

Also present is Anderson’s usual attention to detail—“Suzy’s “Sunday school shoes”—and unerring eye for composition.

More importantly though, is his sense of character. It’s clear he cares about his characters, and with this film he establishes himself as one of the great humanist directors working today.

The level of eccentric filmmaking in “Moonrise Kingdom” won’t be for everyone, but the film’s warmth and gentle humor earn it a big recommendation.

Wes Anderson serves up a slice of Americana pie with little love story By Richard Crouse Metro Canada June 12, 2012

movie_-_Moonrise-KingdomWes Anderson’s new movie is a slice of Americana. Moonrise Kingdom, which opened the Cannes film festival this year, is chock-a-block with Norman Rockwell-isms about small town life.

So it is interesting that the films that helped inspire his story of 12-year-old paramours Suzy and Sam would have all been classified as world cinema.

On the line from London the director calls François Truffaut’s Small Change, the story of kids growing up in a French provincial town, as “a great movie and a favourite of mine, and the movie that led me to start thinking about doing something with children as the leads.”

He also cites a little-known English movie set in 1750 as a key film while he was “working on the script, looking for inspirations to help propel a story about a romance between characters of this age.”

“I had never heard of the great Ken Loach film called Black Jack,” he says. “I was just in a video store in London and I saw the very beautiful cover. I didn’t really know Ken Loach’s work that well. I read the description and I absolutely loved the movie. Black Jack really made a huge impression on me, and inspired some things in the movie.”

The next step was to cast the movie. “We had a bunch of adult roles but none of them are great big roles, and even though we ended up with some movie stars [like Bruce Willis, Bill Murray and Ed Norton] in there, I knew the movie would be on the shoulders of these two kids.”

After auditioning thousands of children he discovered two unknowns, Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman.

“Eventually somebody comes in and the search is over,” he says. “There is a flash of lightening and there it is. That’s what happened with each of these.

Jared, he says, won the role because, “he made me laugh the way he looked but it was the combination of his appearance and his interview with the casting director that really entertained me and charmed me. His voice, his manner and his enthusiasm were all very winning.”

Kara impressed with “her reading of the scene. It sounded to me as if she was inventing the lines spontaneously right there. That’s a very unusual thing to feel from a child actor reading cold, something they’ve never seen before.”