When I read somewhere that Wes Anderson's intention with Moonrise Kingdom had been to reminisce about the magic of childhood love I had already seen the film and adored it, put simply he couldn't have done a better job. Set in the mid sixties on a small (fictional) island called New Penzance off the coast of New England the film revolves around Sam and Suzy, two twelve year olds each misfits in their own way. Sam is an orphan placed with well-meaning foster parents who run their home like a hybrid of church and army barracks, he struggles to make friends and is the least popular member of his Khaki Scout troop. Suzy on the other hand is the eldest of four children and a voracious reader who loves to escape into books, controlling her temper is not her strong point - she is often at odds with her eccentric attorney parents and is all too aware that they consider her a problem child. They meet, fall in love through exchanging letters and plan to run away together into the wilderness.
To reveal much more about the characters or the plot would be erring on the side of a spoiler, but suffice to say there is adventure, comedy and an undercurrent of sadness mixed in with the romance. If you vividly remember the awkwardness of your pre-teen and early teen years or ever felt like the black sheep of the family (whether you were/are or not!) you'll understand what lengths Sam and Suzy are willing to go to having each found a person who accepts their quirks. The casting is divine; Edward Norton as the earnest, chipper and slightly incompetent Khaki Scout leader, Bruce Willis plays an unfulfilled lonely cop and Tilda Swinton is saccharine and threatening as 'Social Services'. Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman bring Suzy and Sam to life with such an endearing awkwardness, I don't think the film would have worked half as well had they been experienced child actors.
If you can't stand whimsy - or Wes Anderson films - then I doubt Moonrise Kingdom will be up your street. That said there is so much to appreciate in the styling of the whole thing for anyone who loves a vintage aesthetic! I swooned over the portable record player, Suzy's diligently packed suitcase of her favourite books and the attention to detail on everything from the Khaki Scout uniforms and amazing authentic 1960s interiors to the wardrobe choices. Plus the way it was shot on super 16mm film leaves you feeling as though you jumped into someone's Instagram feed or your face was stroked with vintage Polaroids for ninety minutes. If you have a little stack of films or books you turn to after a rubbish day for some comfort you'll know what I mean when I say that Moonrise Kingdom made it onto my pick-me-up stack!
Hope you all had fun in the snow this weekend,