If you're a fan of director Wes Anderson and his typical absurdist humor, then you'll be at home with Moonrise Kingdom. An orphaned boy scout runs away with the girl of his dreams on a small island just off the New England coast in the 1960s, as they're pursued by boy scouts, parents, and the local sheriff.
It's a funny movie from Anderson, that is surprisingly tender hearted. It deals with young love with such fervor, you believe the reasons as to why these two young pre-teens are drawn to one another, and you laugh at all of the awkward moments that come from that young love. The kids, played by Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, are already masters at delivering each deadpan line of dialogue, that is Anderson's trademark. As for all of the typical troop that follows Wes Anderson from film to film, they're all spot on here, but it's new Anderson additions, Edward Norton and Bruce Willis, that steal the show. As with all of Anderson's characters, Norton's scout leader is the most offbeat scout leader you'll ever meet, and Willis's sherrif is a lonely man that is not as sure of himself as most Bruce Willis characters are, marking this as one of his better performances in years.
This just is a true Wes Anderson film, through and through. It deals with, what I believe to be, his career long theme of familial disconnect and a search for familial connection, which is represented here between Gilman and Willis's characters' relationship, but most importantly, it's just a funny film. Boy scouts engaging in epic forest battles, dances in your underwear on the beach, what's not to love about this film?
In many ways, Moonrise Kingdom seems to be the most lovingly crafted film of Anderson's career. It's debatable as to whether or not it's his best, because it does spin its wheels about in the middle, but there is a sentimental sense of nostalgia for a time in life that we grow out of very quickly, that is different than the feelings that one typically gets from an Anderson film.
I give Moonrise Kingdom an A