January has proven to be a very busy month with my birthday, finishing up my Disney Canon series, end of the year lists and Sundance Film Festival (half way through. Update to come). However, I wanted to keep my commitment to the Blind Spot series and watch the January pick, so I squeezed it on Saturday. The film is Moonrise Kingdom and I’m glad I did because it is a charming little movie.
Directed by Wes Anderson, Moonrise Kingdom, shares all of his hipster cuteness but in ways that feel appropriate to the story. It’s about two 12 year old kids that run away together causing their community to madly search for them. They believe they are in love and share a sweet chemistry together. The town is eccentric like most Wes Anderson films characters are but there is a brightness here that sometimes his films miss. I know everyone is in love with Rushmore but I much prefer this. I found Rushmore to be a little mean spirited and harsh in tone where this is light and joyful. Edward Norton is particularly good as Scout Master Ward. It made me laugh because my father is the world’s most diligent scout master.
The rest of the cast is fantastic including Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and more. I also liked the two 12 year old actors Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward.
The cinematography by Robert Yeoman was done in 16mm film and it almost has a sepia quality to it. It feels old fashioned and comforting. The production design was excellent as well as the costumes.
But the main reason to watch Moonrise Kingdom is the writing. I can see why Wes Anderson was nominated for an Oscar for original screenplay because it is delightful while having moments of emotional truth hidden inside. It has a dry sarcastic sense of humor without becoming harsh or judgemental. It was really entertaining to watch.
I suppose the pacing may be a little slow for some and others may find it the hipster style a little grating but I didn’t mind it. Moonrise Kingdom is a real winner from Wes Anderson and I’m glad to get to start 2017 on a high note!
Overall Grade- A-