Director: Wes Anderson
Writer: Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola
Starring: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Ed Norton, Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand, Harvey Keitel, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray & Jason Schwartzman
Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson’s latest ‘romance’, about adolescent star-crossed lovers, is as colourful, funny, stylized and heartfelt as I’ve come to respect and expect from the filmmaker. In his first film since 2009, Anderson has held fast to the style that has earned him critical acclaim and a strong fan base: the highly stylized narrative, the deliberate staging (see an interesting article about Wes Anderson’s choices here) and, my personal favourite, the tapped-out nuanced dialogue that conveys more emotion than most dramatic monologues.
Here the two young newcomers, Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman, play the leads with charm and innocence but they are no match for the seasoned actors, Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman, who suit Anderson’s style so perfectly that I kept waiting to see them on screen. The cast is rounded out with eccentric and witty performances by Frances McDormand, Bruce Willis, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel and Ed Norton.
What I loved: Pitch-perfect performances by Jason Schwartzman and Ed Norton, especially Norton whose Scout Master Ward is more endearing than his teenage ‘wards’. The dialogue and staging are poetry.
What I didn’t love: This is not my favourite Wes Anderson movie. While the innocence of the leads is convincing, it takes a special touch to deliver Wes Anderson dialogue with deadpan conviction and I have yet to find any of his later movies match the Royal Tenenbaums or Rushmore on that front (The Life Aquatic came very close).
My rating: It’ll make you smile for the full 94 minutes.