Score = B-
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
(Drama–Comedy-Romance / PG-13)
Review by: Kisho Wolfe
Logline: Romance of the adolescent kind.
Set in the summer of 1965, Moonrise Kingdom is a story of two dissimilarly troubled youths who throw caution to the wind and travel up a coast in New England with only the “bare essentials.” A handful of well-known talent is present in this film; Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand , Bill Murray, and even Tilda Swinton makes an appearance, as Social Services. All of them, however, are little more than suggestive adult mandates to the focus and dialogue of the world seen through the eyes of “tweens.”
Suzy (Kara Hayward) is the “yang” to Sam’s (Jared Gilman) “ying” and is branded as a “slightly” disturbed child of sorts. Her emotions are well under wraps for the most part and are typically only revealed when provoked. Her parents are lawyers and the family is well off as they live their days in a sizable house/light house near the ocean. Suzy spends most of her time watching the world through a pair of self-deemed, magical binoculars and reading fiction, which may give cause for her beliefs of the grass being greener on the other side of life.
Sam’s background is almost non-existent. Other than the fact that he is an orphan and a Khaki Scout, the most interesting thing told about his life is the bit about his foster parents pretty much disowning him.
One day at a church play Suzy is performing in, she encounters the mysterious Sam when he wanders into the actors’ dressing room. After a brief conversation about her costume, Sam is quickly shooed away when a coordinator enters and urges everyone to the stage. In an era when texting and cell phones were wishful thinking, Suzy sends out a request for the Khaki Scout to write her and they become pen pals. After a while it’s clear that both are unhappy with their current circumstances so they decide to “fly the coop” into the unknown together. While Sam’s Khaki Scout skills are the saving grace of the young lovers, the film does well to avoid the illusion of twelve-year-old children having in-depth knowledge the likes of grown adults. Though there are a few key shots thrown in to make things interesting.
Moonrise Kingdom is a film chock full of camera tricks of yester-year in the form of quick cuts, stiff zooms and at times comical lip syncing; all of which we can only hope were purposely done to compliment the mid-sixties atmosphere. While the film felt aged as it was most likely intended, the long pauses throughout the film felt forced and seemed to negatively pull me back out of the film world, impatiently wishing they would get on with the next scene. For the most part, the movie entertained at enough intervals to make it “OK” that I spent six bucks to view it, but not enough to make me ecstatic about it.