Moonrise Kingdom is a film directed by Wes Anderson, with a screenplay written by Anderson and Roman Coppola. The movie is set on the fictional island of New Penzance off the coast of New England in 1965. Two 12-year-olds, Sam Shakusky and Suzy Bishop, become pen pals and eventually fall in love. They decide to run away together on the island to pursue their love for one another, but an epic storm is brewing up and is due to hit New Penzance very soon. With the combination of the storm and the runaway, the quiet, serene nature of this small island quickly turns tumultuously chaotic.
Wes Anderson has made quite a name for himself in the Hollywood as the creator and originator of a very eccentric, nonconformist style of filmmaking. Some of his most popular films include The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and The Darjeeling Limited. For anyone who has seen any of his previous films, Anderson’s distinct method of filmmaking is unmistakable, and in Moonrise Kingdom, he again employs this same scheme.
Anderson collaborated on this uniquely peculiar screenplay with Roman Coppola, a writer he previously worked with on the script for The Darjeeling Limited. The two have created a brilliantly refreshing tale of young love, and the entertainingly hilarious nature of the film is brought on strongly by the wonderful piece of writing these two men have created. Their script has resulted in an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
After I rented this movie a while back to see it for the first time, I absolutely fell in love with it—I went and purchased it on Blu-ray mere days after watching it. It quickly became one of my favorite movies of all time, and it made me a fan of Anderson’s unusual style of filmmaking. One of my favorite aspects of the movie was the score—acclaimed composer Alexandre Desplat creates a specific tone for the movie through his music, and it truly makes the story even more gripping.
The film features some hilariously interesting characters, played by a combination of star-studded actors and Hollywood newbies. In my opinion, the two younger actors provide the movie’s brightest performances. Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward portray Sam and Suzy, respectively, and together they provide for some of the funniest and most endearing scenes in the entire film. Some great supporting performances are also contributed by some of the film industry’s most enduring performers: Bill Murray plays Suzy’s father, Frances McDormand plays Suzy’s mother, Bruce Willis plays the island’s sheriff, Edward Norton plays the local Khaki scout troop leader, Tilda Swinton plays a character known only as Social Services, Jason Schwartzman portrays Cousin Ben, Harvey Keitel plays Commander Pierce, and Bob Balaban provides the role of the narrator. This ensemble collectively shines on the screen and makes this film the illustrious piece of art it is.
Also, one of the most recognized hallmarks of any Wes Anderson film is the presence of a cast that features many previous Anderson collaborators. Moonrise Kingdom marks the sixth Anderson film featuring Bill Murray and fourth film featuring Jason Schwartzman. Moonrise Kingdom is rated PG-13 for sexual content and smoking.
Academy Award nominations for Moonrise Kingdom:
Best Original Screenplay (Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola)
Previous movies on the countdown of the Top 15 Films of the Year:
3. Zero Dark Thirty
5. Django Unchained
6. Life of Pi
8. Les Misérables
9. Beasts of the Southern Wild
11. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
12. The Dark Knight Rises
14. The Master