When a director is so stylistically set in their ways you do find yourself in a sticky situation. You know what you are getting with Wes but maybe you’re not in the mood for twee with a sprinkling of angst. He likes those filmed-from-above still shots of things on tables and letters being read and he likes his wistful music. But you are treated to sexy sixties songstress Françoise Hardy and some little old American song about falling in love with an Indian, it’s nice trust me.
I bring up Rushmore because Moonrise Kingdom reminded me of that place. Young, odd and determined characters. Oh and lurve. But it’s not gooey I promise, it’s all magical and seen through rays of soft sunshine that saturates the whole screen! The two main characters are Suzy and Sam, two twelve year olds both with troubles and outcast status. They find each other and it’s their adventure we’re taken on. Both actors get their quirk on and I do think the two newcomers manage to pull it off without you thinking they’re out of their depth. They are funny, Jared Gilman’s lack of visible emotion just makes you believe Sam is thinking all the more deeper for it and Kara Hayward as Suzy, oddly enough looking like a shrunken Lana Del Rey, reminds you of a more dreamy version of Margot Tenenbaum. Take note, Suzy’s eye make-up is better.
Sadly enough I pine after Sam and Suzy’s romantic adventure (remember they’re only 12), they argue, they read to each other, they don’t get each other all the time but they want to be together dammit! To balance these two newbies you have a host of Hollywood old school, yes Bill Murray’s there, just enjoying it and acting their socks off. I love Frances McDormand. She is the rundown but not downtrodden wife Laura Bishop with Bill Murray and Bruce Willis causing some triangular shaped problems. Tilda Swinton’s Social Service woman with her blaze of red hair and efficient attitude is perfect too. The shambles of the adults life is mixed with the adventure of Suzy and Sam as they flee from the Boy Scouts who are tracking down the AWOL Boy Scout Sam.
The journey starts there on the little island the pair meet on and it’s the beautiful forests and rooms that look like dolls houses that make me want to squeal with glee. While there is all this nice colourful crafty looking stuff you get the magic but you don’t get the gloss of Hollywood, all the actors have their wrinkles on show and it’s great to see them just looking exactly like they should do at their varying ages. It works well in contrast to all the fresh faced kids who unlike the adults, tied down by responsibility and jobs, are off living a wild fantasy trying to escape the mundane.
Oh and there’s a kitten too! What I’m saying about Wes’s latest instalment is like cookies from grandma – it was made with love. He’s been attentive to the sets, characters and the charming narrative and made me want to live in Moonrise Kingdom (preferably with Bob Balaban, that guy looks good in red).
Moonrise Kingdom is still showing at The Prince of Wales Cinema, London, Cornerhouse Manchester and other places, you gots Google dontcha?