Out & About

July 19, 2012

'Moonrise Kingdom' Anderson's best film yet

The films of Wes Anderson tend to revel in their own cleverness, sometimes at the expense of realistic characters and big laughs.

“Moonrise Kingdom,” however, is sure to please longtime Anderson fans while also appealing to many of his detractors. It’s his most accessible — and flat-out best — film yet.

Sure, it’s still quirky, stylized and absurd, but it’s beautifully filmed and not so clever and self-important that it interferes with the story or the characters.

“Moonrise Kingdom” is set on an isolated island off the coast of New England in 1965 and focuses on a pair of 12-year-old outsiders.

Sam is a misfit scout — a bespectacled, coonskin cap-wearing orphan wise in the ways of the forest but ridiculed by his fellow scouts and unwanted by his foster family. Suzy is pretty but friendless, raised in a dysfunctional home with lawyer parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand) and dealing with anger-management issues.

The two decide to run away together — he with full camping supplies, her with a cat and a battery-operated record player — and they have to elude the pursuit of a motley posse while simultaneously learning a little something about young love.

The movie is warm and sentimental, marked with deadpan and dark humor. First-timers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward are excellent as the two naive young leads, and as usual, Anderson has built a sterling supporting cast.

Bruce Willis is understated as the lonely small-town sheriff. McDormand and Murray are perfectly matched as Suzy’s distant but concerned parents.

Edward Norton is earnest without being too goofy as the scout leader who musters his reluctant troops to find their AWOL member. Harvey Keitel is his superior, and Tilda Swinton is the somewhat villainous woman from social services.

Anderson regular Jason Schwartzman is also around, in a small but funny role.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Steve Ouellette's Movie Reviews

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Entertainment Videos
'Manhattan' a Ratings Hit for WGN Nils Lofgren Is Happy in a Band or Solo ShowBiz Minute: Ne-Yo, Sharknado, Keys Russell Simmons, LL Cool J Visit Youth at Jail Married Couple Seeks 'Satisfaction' in New Ways Cast on Love, Weather and Stunts of 'Outlander' Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure 'The Bachelorette' and Her Beau Go Public Tatum Says Filming 'Foxcatcher' Was 'tortuous' Was That Harry Potter at Comic-Con? Fox Dons 'Bondage Strap' Skirt at Comic-Con Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Uzo Aduba Says Emmy Nod Is 'Crazy' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up Mirren Not Thrilled to Play 'The Queen' on B'way The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' ShowBiz Minute: Hoffman, Oberst, Box Office
CVPH Job Opportunities