Moonrise Kingdom is the latest and another incredible work by director Wes Anderson. The film revolves around twelve year old “Khaki Scout” Sam Shakusky and his plan to use his wilderness savvy to run away with his pen-pal and love Suzy Bishop. The film, like all of Anderson’s film, inhabits its own world. The plot as it unfolds invokes a magical realism. We see the implausibility of the action as it unfolds with style and finesse, yet Anderson never betrays an ironic wink. We empathize with his characters because he does.
The film captures Sam and Suzy on the precipice of adulthood. They are precocious preteens who are perhaps in some ways aware of this. Suzy has found her parents book on raising emotionally troubled children. Her mother asks “why are things so hard for you?”
But the film does not despair, and though we are given glimpses of adult matters; Suzy’s mother’s affair, Juvenile Refuge, the film has a touching optimism. The film sidesteps the easy pitfalls of becoming saccharine sentimental slop by not ignoring an adult lens. The film knows of naiveté of young love, but does not patronize it. Anderson expects his audience to understand where he breaches reality and to take the ride.
Suzy’s parents (Bill Murray, Frances McDormand), Khaki Scout leader Randy (Edward Norton) and police Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis) lead the search party. Slowly we begin to suspect they are coming around to understand the motivation of the runaways. In many ways they are innocent of transgression.
If possible, I would like to convey that all of this is executed very lightly and with great humor, done only as something so recognizably human can inspire.