Can you walk into a movie theatre, park your logic at the door, and accept that a boy could be struck directly with lightning and just wind up with a dirty face and clothes? Do you think a 12 year old boy, not 15-16, would listen to a 12 year old girl describe a French kiss and ask for one without his going “UGH!”? Maybe “Moonrise Kingdom” is for you if you can sit back, relax and think both happenings are rational.
Wes Anderson directed, and co-wrote with Roman Coppola, this story of Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward), 2 twelve year olds who have an innocent romance. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs, Bishop (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand) have 3 other children, who appear to be triplets from their actions, all who seem apart from their daughter and sister. The adults in Sam’s life such as the foster parents who do not want him anymore, the social service (Tilda Swinton) worker who is determined to put him in detention and Sam’s Khaki Scoutmaster (Edward Norton) work against him while Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis), the local sheriff, seems to be the only adult who cares for and about the boy. The other Khaki Scouts, boys Sam and Suzy’s age, are, at first, against them and then try to help the young couple.
Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward are exceptional as the leads, the outsiders, while Willis and Norton, along with Bob Balaban as the narrator, add heft to the film. Frances McDormand really doesn’t bring anything to the part of the mother while it is time for Tilda Swinton to change her hairstyle! I never have understood the appeal of Bill Murray and his hang dog bull terrier look in every movie but I know he has a big following.
There are a lot of illogical things happening in “Moonrise Kingdom” that in a sense make it a fantasy but I had the feeling this would be a lot better on a small TV screen than it comes across on the big movie screen in spite of the gorgeous Rhode Island scenery.