Moonrise Kingdom is the type of film that you describe in just one word: lovely. Wes Anderson has created a world where lovely characters inhabit and act in a way that is just like real life. It is almost a mirror to reality.
I was a boy scout from first grade to sixth grade. So this film interested with that as well. Knowing how sometimes scouts can be mean or join together I wondered what path this film would take.
I went to a stadium theater to watch this film. As there were only six theaters in my state of Maryland that were showing this particular film. Only one was an AMC. AMC has made a commit to show more independent films (which are better than most studio films). So I guess they felt one theater was enough.
The story begins with a lovely classical tune. Then we jump to see Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton. He is smoking a cigarette and making the rounds checking on his scouts. He makes his way to Sam (Jared Gilman). Sam has a big hole in his tent and Scout Master realizes that Sam has escaped.
He goes to the police where he informs Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis) that Sam has gone missing. Captain Sharp calls Sam's parents and finds out that they are actually his foster parents. Furthermore he is shocked to find out that they do not want him anymore.
It turns out that Sam's parents are dead and he is an orphan. That he is emotionally troubled. This comes to a shocker for Scout Master Ward.
Captain Sharp goes to home of Walt Bishop (Bill Murray) and Laura Bishop (Frances McDormand). He informs the couple that Sam is missing. You later see Laura ride her bike to Sharp. She smokes his cigarette and holds his hand in a loving way. There is clearly something going on. Little does she know that her daughter Suzy (Kara Hayward) is watching.
Suzy is the oldest of four children and her siblings are boys. She is a troubled kid much like Sam. Only that she has a family. Yet she remains troubled.
Turns out that Suzy and Sam met each other a year earlier when he went into a dressing room for a Church play Suzy was in and took an interest in her. Ever since then they have been pen pals and plotted their escape. Suzy and Sam have no friends. The other boy scouts pick on Sam. The other girls hate Suzy. They understand each other in a way no one else does. They are troubled to others but to them they are special.
Gilman and Hayward give excellent performances not just for child actors, but for any actors. They don't let the star studded cast bring them down. Their performances add more love to the film as the chemistry is clear. They act like kids and learn like kids.
Wes Anderson's direction is brilliant. He takes a simplistic story and makes it into something that you can't look away from. He has created something that most directors don't seem to care for. A realism that makes a movie relate able.
Moonrise Kingdom is a film that just focuses on it's characters and their quirks. Real human being traits. And with it's humble approach it scores on so many levels.
The boy scout in me smiled the whole time in this movie. I wasn't the most popular kid in my troop. Not as bad as Sam. But not as popular. If only I had met a girl like Suzy.