Moonrise Kingdom takes place on a small New England island, where in one corner a girl named Suzy (Kara Hayward) lives in a lighthouse with her three brothers and her parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand). A young boy named Sam (Jared Gilman) is another occupant of the island, spending the summer at the island’s Khaki Scout ‘Camp Ivanhoe’. San and Suzy have been exchanging letters for some time now, and over the summer they hatch a plan to run away together into the wilderness of the island. Sam escapes the khaki scout camp with supplies for survival in the forest, while Suzy runs from home carrying her kitten, some books, and a battery-powered record player.
The young couple spend several days camping and hiking, learning something about young love along the way, as the two both see themselves in each other. Sam is an orphan who has been told he has violent tendencies, and Suzy lives amongst a dysfunctional family, and she has also been labelled for her angry outbursts. Together the two read books, dance, and fish, as well as sharing a first kiss. However, the end to their adolescent adventure is looming nearer, brought to life in the form of a hurricane sweeping the island, yet metaphorically a reference to the fleetingness of childhood.
Wes Anderson has seeped the film in color, particularly the leafy green of the island, as well as the brown of the scout uniforms, contrasted against yellows and reds. The result is a visually gorgeous film, with numerous scenes seeping with colorful palates; every frame seems choreographed to maximize the magical texture of the film. Behind the aesthetics of this movie lies a charming tale of youth, and it explores the fantasies of childhood before the inevitable loss of innocence and metamorphosis into adulthood. Moonrise Kingdom not only tells a delightful story, but also is highly engaging and entertaining, happily marking my first encounter with director Wes Anderson’s work.