• PG-13, 1 hr. 34 min.
  • Comedy
  • Directed By:
    Wes Anderson
    In Theaters:
    May 25, 2012 Limited
    On DVD:
    Oct 16, 2012
  • Focus Features


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Moonrise Kingdom Reviews

Page 1 of 328
Daniel P

Super Reviewer

May 30, 2012
After a second viewing: I think I was too ready to love this movie. Great cast, great style, and sweet story of young love, but there's also a "same old Wes Anderson" feeling to it; it's almost belaboured. Despite Bill Murray and Frances McDormand, you rarely laugh out loud, and it's almost played too straight: trying to be too sweet.

Anderson makes unique films, and I do like them all, but he may be getting stale. He hasn't blown me away since The Royal Tenenbaums. I have great expectations for The Grand Budapest Hotel, and in a way, I think he needs to knock that one out of the park in order to keep making the kinds of movies he wants to make. I'm starting to see a Tim Burton career parallel, in which he ends up only getting work from Disney. It wouldn't be the worst think in the world, but it would lead to compromises in his films' most valuable aspect: their aesthetic.
Jason Lalljee
Jason Lalljee

Super Reviewer

May 6, 2012
Probably my favorite film of the year (and what a good movie year it was!). Director Wes Anderson crafts a film that has a heart as big as its brain, creating a sweet story of adolescent love. It's Anderson's most delightfully quirky, toning down his usual sardonic but keeping the essence of an "Anderson" film. His shots seem compulsively symmetrical, the production design a matter of balance that feels quaint instead of off-putting. I want more tales of Suzy and Sam, but know I shouldn't get any- and that's the mark of a timeless film.
Spencer S

Super Reviewer

February 18, 2012
Wes Anderson, master of the aesthetically colorful, whimsical, sixties' tinged madness, outdoes even himself with a trope set in the very decade he draws from the most. Right down to the period clothing, sets, and a clickety typewriter to boot, this reeks of its time period, but at the same time it isn't mashed into your face. The setting for the film is much more magical and whimsical than it is cloaked in nostalgia. Set on an island that cannot be reached except by ferry and plane, making cars essentially useless, it has an otherness to it even while retaining the same base characteristics of Anderson's usual troupe of characters. Time period only lends interesting visuals, and doesn't ultimately define the characters. All characters are quirky, especially the troop that includes the lead character, Sam (Gilman), who are all instinctive about their natural environment, and testy about procedure, and yet are represented as normal kids rebutting the outsider. Even the troop leader, played by Edward Norton, thinks that Sam is an eccentric, and an oddity, so when Sam runs away to be with a girl who he has met once and wrote for a year, he is incensed, and yet begins to become thoughtful about the boy. The entire film follows the irregular course that these young lovers take, both odd to the outside world but much more mature than they're given credit for. Besides the love story there are the stories of the inhabitants of the island, including a police officer, the troop leader, and the family of the girl. Though the film is one of a tragic romance between young people, a great coming of age story, and of course a tale of an adventurous hero keeping the wolves at bay, it is also funny, sweet, and soft spoken. The young couple are really interesting, and in every scene they try to stay eternally bound and yet are kept apart by the obvious age issue. Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward are very talented and yet are amateurs, so they keep the innocence of their age and yet bring forth the understanding of young, ambitious teenagers. The one point that irritates me is that the story of the family isn't well told, the characters are a bit flat, and the relationship between the mother and the policeman is the most boring aspect of the entire movie and yet is supposed to yield some untold insight into the lives of the island residents. It felt so pointless, except to show his willingness to look towards the future, and that's barely alluded to. This is another Anderson best, but compared to the detailed lives of his past characters, these only sometimes get the briefest of introductions.
Christopher H

Super Reviewer

May 25, 2013
Delightful odd-wit and tasty artful cinematography flow through this nice little flick about young love. Probably Wes Anderson's most heart-warming tale yet.
Cynthia S

Super Reviewer

June 13, 2012
Weird little artsy fartsy type movie...the kind that critics just love!
Thomas J

Super Reviewer

April 8, 2013
This is simply a sweet story beautifully told! I highly recommend!

Super Reviewer

April 7, 2013
Pretty sweet and charming.

Good movie! Moonrise Kingdom is that place of beauty and passion that we all have been in at least once in our lives, the one place on earth where we believe that anything is possible. It has since been lost, but it persists in our memories in moments of nostalgia. First and foremost I will say that I think this movie is definitely a kids romance, just without the cheesy stuff you see in other such children's fare like the wimpy kid franchise, and for the adults it has a subplot dealing with the parents and other eccentric characters of the town. The driving force of the film is the young cast, Jared Hilman, who I think looks like a miniature Rainn Wilson, and Kara Hayward are electric together on screen, and their quirky eccentricities are perfectly matched, the chemistry between the two just lights up the screen and you're rooting for them from the get go. It rewards those with the notion to read in between the lines, embraces the beauty of a natural setting, and cracks awkwardly funny stone-faced jokes at the most unexpected moments. The mood is decidedly childish, both in subject and in perspective, but for the most part that works to put the audience in the right mindset, rather than dumbing things down. It does occasionally overstretch itself, though, particularly as events begin to climax and believability abruptly becomes less of a priority. If you've enjoyed Anderson's earlier pictures there's plenty to like here, although it doesn't even begin to rival Rushmore or The Royal Tenenbaums and I was surprised by the lack of a matching soundtrack. Non-fans should continue to keep their distance.

Set on an island off the coast of New England in the 1960s, as a young boy and girl fall in love they are moved to run away together. Various factions of the town mobilize to search for them and the town is turned upside down which might not be such a bad thing.
Daniel L

Super Reviewer

December 30, 2012
Moonrise Kingdom tells a thoughtful tale of innocence through dynamic direction, vibrant atmosphere, and charming performances.

Super Reviewer

January 7, 2012
Set on an island off the coast of New England in 1965, this is the tale of two misfit 12 year-olds who fall in love, and make a pact to run away with one another, with various parties in pursuit of them, with all of this taking place in the wake of an oncoming hurricane.

Wes Anderson has done it again. Not only is this a wry, magical, and whimsical piece, it's undoubtedly the most Wes Anderson-y Wes Anderson film ever, or at least up to this point. Many of his trademarks, especially where style is concerned, are present, and what we get is a nice look at first love from two people who are in love, but don't seem like it.

Sam is a renegade Khaki Scout (an obvious mock Boy Scout), who is hated by all the others in his troop because he doesn't fit in, mostly because he is quite, morose, and an orphan. Suzy is very much like him,. She's got emotional issues, is forlorn, and resents her mother, who she knows is having an affair with the lone cop who patrols their island. The two met quite by chance, and became close pen pals. When the story begins, we see them already underway with a pact to run away in the wilderness with one another.

Some might say that the two kid actors aren't good, that they give flat performances, and are really stiff. You could say that, and yes, while it couldbe true, I think it works. The way the two kids react to being in love is appropriate given the type of people they are, and the strong performances from these two newcomers brings this odd, but cute relationship to life. The film is whimsical, but it's also quite deadpan, and perhaps a tad dark, but even then still quirky.

As good as the two leads are, they maybe get overshadowed by the stellar supporting cast of veterans actors that include Frances McDormand and Bill Murray as Suzy's parents, Bruce Willis as the cop, Edward Norton as the scoutmaster, and briefer roles filled by Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, and Harvey Keitel. And then we get Bob Balaban as the delightful narrator.

The film is absolutely gorgeous. The sets are great, the cinematography is very painterly and superb, the color scheme is bright and classic Anderson, and the period details are phenomenal. The music is likewise very enjoyable, and, while I dug the score a lot, I could have used more British Invasion era tunes.

I'm raving on and on about this, and, while I absolutely loved it, it did leave me somewhat cold at first, but I contemplated it more, and then eventually I was able to digest the rich material and appreciate it at a deeper level. As much as I loved Skyfall and The Avengers, I think this is basically my belated pick for best film of 2012. Definitely go watch it.
Daniel Mumby
Daniel Mumby

Super Reviewer

January 22, 2013
Auteurs are by their very nature divisive. When someone has such a strong, individual and instantly recognisable style, it is bound to generate more extreme emotional reactions than someone who has one or more feet firmly in the mainstream. It is often the case that auteurs are only truly understood and celebrated after they're dead, with Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Ken Russell all being snubbed or written off at some stage in their careers.

It is with this benefit of hindsight that we approach the work of Wes Anderson. He is unquestionably one of the most distinctive filmmakers of his generation, with a series of unique offerings under his belt and a glittering reputation among hard-core film fans. His talent is so on show in aspects of Moonrise Kingdom that any negative response could be written off as an inability to recognise greatness. But whether through my limitations or the film's, Moonrise Kingdom doesn't live up to its hype, being visually beautiful but too arch and distant to be engaging.

It's worth reiterating just how good Moonrise Kingdom looks. At a time when American cinema is increasingly homogenous and visually lazy, Anderson's film looks and feels like a work of intricate, painstaking craft. He gets a perfect balance between recreating the details of a period and putting his own distinctive stamp on it, giving us buildings, landscapes and costumes that we think we recognise, but may be entirely new. While indie films are stereotyped as having grainy, washed-out colour palettes, Anderson's film is full of rich spring and summer tones, with pinks and yellow so bright and fulsome you'd swear they were made out of marzipan.

The story of Moonrise Kingdom reflects its period setting of the mid-1960s very well. It draws on the deep well of stories about lovers running away and resists situating it in the counter-culture movements that were sweeping America at the same time. There is an endearing innocence to both the film and its central protagonists, who are deeply in love without really knowing what love is or what it entails in the long run.

The disappearance of the two children and the attempts to get them back is an interesting way of reflecting the fears of 1960s parents towards their children. The innocence of their relationship is counterpointed by the feeling of a community being rent asunder, with all the locals' dirty secrets and shortcomings being thrust out into the open. Unlike many 1960s and 1970s films which use children as a symbol or agent of evil, the central characters in Moonrise Kingdom are completely well-meaning, only resorting to violence to defend what they care about, and with the adults seeming a whole lot more screwed up.

There are a number of lovely moments in the film which are funny, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. A great deal of the humour comes from pockets of black comedy which move the film from Badlands to Bonnie and Clyde, such as the scene where a scout loses his kidney in a fight with Sam. Other times it is a good visual joke, like the papier maché replica of Suzy left in her bed by the scouts. Some of the supporting cast are also funny just for how bizarre they are, the best example being Tilda Swinton's uptight Social Services (yes, that's her actual name).

Much like Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson does have a knack of getting actors to give performances that no-one would have expected from them. Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward are both great in their first screen roles, with the latter bearing a striking resemblance to Scarlett Johannson in certain scenes. Bill Murray often plays the downbeat grump in his later work, but here he gets to let rip with a number of terrific tantrums counterpointed by middle-aged mumbling. Bruce Willis brings a more humanistic quality to his downbeat, brow-beaten style of character, being closer to his work in Twelve Monkeys but with relational rather than existential angst. And Edward Norton, so often a tough and aggressive screen presence, completely convinces at the utterly inept but ultimately heroic scout master.

So far Moonrise Kingdom is shaping up to a triumph of craft and character, being yet another feather in Anderson's ever-growing cap. But for all his hard work up to this point, and all the goodwill we have towards him, the film has a number of problems which ultimately tarnish the end result. To be specific, there are a number of small problems which emanate from one really big problem. And that big problem is: we just don't care about anyone on screen.

There is a fundamental difference in drama between empathy and sympathy. In order for a drama to be fully compelling, it is not enough for us just to understand how the characters function on a technical level; we have to want good things to happen to them to such an extent that we invest in them emotionally. The problem is that Anderson doesn't want us to invest in his characters: he wants us to study them and be amused by them, but he gives no real incentive to actually like them.

As much as I praised Anderson as a craftsman, this feeling is exacerbated by the way and the extent to which the film feels 'designed' As good and as charismatic as the performers are, there is a feeling of artifice to the whole proceedings, as though they were figures in a giant snow globe that Anderson is shaking up and asking us to watch. The recreation of the period isn't warm and nostalgic like you would expect for such a heart-warming story: it feels too hermetically sealed, too perfect to be anything other than a thought experiment whose participants are to be observed.

As distinctive and memorable as Anderson's characters are, they are also underwritten insofar as they could be reduced down to a single quirk or joke each. Frances McDormand's mother has only one distinctive feature - using a megaphone to call her children - and the film doesn't develop her alleged affair into something deep and meaningful. Harvey Keitel is enjoyable as the brash Commander Pierce, but beyond playing to our expectations and giving us a quick laugh at his pomposity, there's not a lot else to him. All the characters are written with a sense of ironic detachment, with Anderson and Roman Coppola being greatly amused by their quirks but not going the extra mile to turn the quirks into something more developed.

Even if we overlook the characters, there are other problems with Moonrise Kingdom which also betray a shortfall in effort expended. The film skims over a lot of potentially interesting subtexts that could have really cemented it as something more than just a quirky story of lovers on the run. There are numerous instances of Biblical imagery in the film, with the main characters meeting at a production of Noah's Flood and the film's climax involving a terrible storm (at a push, you could even view the lovers as Adam and Eve). All the imagery is there but Anderson either isn't aware of it or isn't interested in unleashing its full potential.

The same goes for the theme of the adults in the town being more screwed up than their children. It's floated occasionally in some of the quieter moments, where Anderson gives us lingering close-ups of characters looking sadly into middle distance. But there is less attempt than you might expect to tie the adults' predicament to the emotional development of their children, until the film pulls an unconvincing ending out of nowhere and everything goes back to square one. While you can applaud Anderson for not being predictable, the film would have had much more impact if it ended with Sam being struck by lightning and then not surviving. Certainly that would have felt less clunky than all the various storylines colliding in the church, like the ending of O Brother, Where Art Thou?.

Moonrise Kingdom is a decent but frustrating effort from Anderson, displaying all that is good and bad about his style of filmmaking. His distinctive visual style and approach to characters demands to be celebrated, but at the same time there is far too much detachment from said characters for the film to work. Throw in the various missed opportunities in the narrative and you have a film which promises much but delivers on disappointingly little. Anderson's many fans will be satisfied, but newcomers to his work should start elsewhere.

Super Reviewer

August 15, 2012
Pursued by their parents and over-zealous scout leaders, two twelve-year-old lovers escape their respective dysfunctional conditions.
I was ready to give this film four stars until Super Reviewer Alice Shen cut the love story to pieces in her review. Read it; she's right.
I still like the film. It's winsome and delightful. There are some stories that work with Wes Anderson's "awkward, disaffected patois," to quote Shen, and this is one of them. The "style" captures childhood innocence.
All the performances are the same as all the performances in other Anderson films.
Overall, I think Anderson is starting to wear on me, and I'm longing to find out that The Darjeeling Limited wasn't a fluke.

Super Reviewer

January 11, 2013
From the color schemes to the elaborate framing, Moonrise Kingdom is meticulously stylized & a joy to look at. But unfortunately there isn't a whole lot more to it than that.

With Rushmore, Royal Tenenbaums, & a few of his other films, Wes Anderson has shown that he is capable of delicately weaving creativity and pathos. Moonrise, however, gave me little to grab onto other than an interesting look at community, albeit an eccentric one, in action. There is nothing particularly interesting about any one of the characters, nor are there any arcs that are worthy of writing home about. In fact, other than a welcome cameo by Schwartzman, I cared little for any of the characters on screen. Not that one has to care for the characters, but why watch a movie if it doesn't cause you to feel something toward those on screen?

Maybe I am missing the point entirely, but it feels as though in terms of style Wes still has a lot to say. Yet, in terms of writing a compelling story, the well may have run dry.
Louis R

Super Reviewer

August 8, 2012
Good Wes Anderson stuff, with the usual cast and colour palette. More emotionally engaging than a lot of his other work, though, while still as witty and refreshing.
Tired of Previews
Tired of Previews

Super Reviewer

December 26, 2012
Question: Do you still have your inner child lingering around you, nudging and allowing you to let your imagination to soar? Most adults let go of their little selves because responsibilities and such push them out to make room to concentrate on real work. It's a shame, really. Our inner child is what brought us to our place as an adult, hopefully. And when we get to adulthood we usually tell them to, "Go away; or grow up." Why? It's when we have a chance to imagine, dream, and reach for what makes us happy that is the driving part of us, the best part of us, most of the time. And that's our inner child talking to us, so why silence them?

I just saw Moonrise Kingdom and realized Wes Anderson's inner child is alive and kicking! What a remarkable movie. My cheeks still hurt from smiling. I was just so content during the movie and parts really made me giggle. Of course there were a few scenes where I lost that smile but the story always had a way of bringing it back. Yes, all done on purpose. Overall, the film will give you a warm and fuzzy feeling: about first loves, being a child, asserting your desires and meeting those who will love you for who you are. Honestly, I want to stop writing this review right now and go see it again. It was that good (and inspiring).

Before I go on, I will say that I really enjoy Wes Anderson's style of filmmaking. Rushmore is right up there in my top 25. Bottle Rocket, Royal Tenenbaums and now Moonrise Kingdom are brilliantly written films that just make me happy. They are quirky, witty and there is a level of innocence that surrounds the vision of these films, and that all has to do with Wes Anderson and how he approaches his films (stories).

Just like the submarine in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zizzou, Moonrise Kingdom used a similar technique with a house. The camera's point of view moved from room to room as if one wall was removed from the seaside home, and looked into each room, peeking in on what the occupants were doing. (I can so picture Wes Anderson playing with this life-size dollhouse and other mini three-dimensional dioramas now and when he was a child.) We meet a family, parented by Francis McDormand and Bill Murray and their four children. The time is the early 60's and the fashion, home details and even the way the film appeared it was obvious as to the time frame.

I went into this film unaware of what it was about - as usual - except there were scouts in it and two kids, who were friends, I supposed. That's all I knew. But as the story unfolded I discovered a wonderful, endearing and fantastical adventure. As I asked earlier about your inner child, Moonrise Kingdom translated a story through a child's eye - or at least that is how I took it. From the lack of wild camera movement - it just stood there, frozen, letting the actors move - to the dialogue spoken by everyone, including the adults, rang with an air of certain innocence, lack of verbal filtering and naiveté of expressions and gestures.

Then there was the humor. It was pure, a reminder of how clumsy we all were as children: misunderstood, unhappy, seeking (searching) for something, or someone, to make you happy and feel like you were not a freak. Even the adults in Moonrise Kingdom, especially Ed Norton's and Bruce Willis' characters, craved to fit in, be admired and loved.

The genuine elements of the relationship between the two lead characters, Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward), made this a very entertaining and heartwarming story. Rarely are children this complex in film and as mesmerizing. It was pure enjoyment to watch these two 12 year-olds pursue their dreams and desire to be together. As I mentioned, it made me smile, a lot.

Moonrise Kingdom was a welcome distraction from the monotony of the outside, adult world we are all in right now. Lack of technology, the love of books, art, and knowledge of how to take care of oneself in the outdoors was very prevalent. Even the long forgotten act of pen pals, a system of communicating I used to thoroughly enjoy when I was a kid, had a part in this story. It brought me right back to my youth.

This film reminded me of my inner child, the young movie lover, and how grateful we are still in touch. Let your inner child in, speak with you, dance and play...Life's too short not to. Enjoy yourselves!!

Review: 10 out of 10

Super Reviewer

December 17, 2012
I've never been a big fan of Wes Anderson, however I do recognize his talents as a filmmakers and occasionally I find a film that he's done to be quite memorable and amusing in a very strange way, maybe that's why he's such a unique director. His movies are almost surrealistic as if he tries to create something of a perfect world in his movies. I was skeptical about Moonrise Kingdom. I was pleasantly surprised by the result. The film has a great cast, a good dose of drama and comedy. This is an accomplished picture and for me anyways the finest film that Wes Anderson has made. There is enough charm, wit and originality to keep you interested from start to finish. Anderson uses his usual tricks to create something special on-screen. He is confident with his camera and he crafts his most solid work with this one. This is an enjoyable treat for film lovers, and as the story unfold, the film becomes a lot better. Moonrise Kingdom is a surprising treat, one that no film buff should pass up on, and with that said, Wes Anderson shows that he is still able to create something original, fun, entertaining and ultimately unique. This is one of the most memorable films of the year and with a great cast of talented actors, this is one of the most refreshing genre films that I have seen in quite some time. Brilliant and it a sheer eccentricity about it that just makes you enjoy ever minutes of it. This is Wes Anderson's finest picture yet. Easily one of the best comedies of 2012.
Dan S

Super Reviewer

December 12, 2012
One of the most over-rated films from 2012, from the wacky and quirky Wes Anderson about a young boy and girl who fall in love and decide to run away from home, and how the tight-knit town they reside in goes looking for them. I really, really wanted to love this movie and come onboard to the Wes Anderson bandwagon, sadly this thing is ultimately a failure for me. There is no denying Anderson has a style and that the actors who choose to work in his films do that style very well, but for whatever reason it just doesn't connect with me. His brand of humor has always been unique, but not in a good way, as it often comes across as if he's making the viewer look for stuff that really isn't funny and trying to convince them that it is. I just don't find his sense of humor funny or clever in the slightest, moreso annoying. The way he instructs his actors (especially the young boy and girl) to act is also frustrating here, as they come across as robots spurting dialogue in an effort to I'm sure come across as funny and cute but it just feels so fake and forced. It's a harmless movie, but I don't understand the universal praise it has received. The actors do what is required of them, but the style of Anderson's films, excusing "Bottle Rocket" and "Fantastic Mr. Fox", just feel very self-congratulatory for being so cute and clever. Maybe it's just me, again, I respect that Anderson has a way of making movies and he has found actors committed to it as well, but mostly his films rarely move me or make me laugh.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

December 4, 2012
Moonrise Kingdom represents the returning to form for Wes Anderson. I say returning rather than return because Moonrise is no where near as good as he can be, Mr. Fox aside, Moonrise is as good as The Royal Tenenbaums in story, that is it is nice but very overrated. I really like it but it's nothing special, it's the performances that really count. Here we have a big cast as usual but none of the big names really make a huge impact, this is left to the brilliant young talents of Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward and they are the ones that make Moonrise a great film. It's directed beautifully and it has a nice story but it is Anderson himself that has raised the expectedness of his films, I can only compare this film to his catalogue of films and rate it accordingly.

Super Reviewer

November 24, 2012
Wes Anderson knows how to direct and Moonrise Kingdom is no exception to this.Plot-wise, Moonrise Kingdom is awkwardly amusing and believe it or not, this isn't surprising. At times it really does seem like the story is meandering, but it really isn't. It's just the offbeat nature of the film that makes it seem that way.The characters, setting, and costumes all compliment the 1960s time frame nicely. The cinematography and writing are also creative and planned out to detail.The acting is a bit dull at times, but is only a minor flaw in the grand scheme of things. Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward are the bulk of the film; however, the likes of Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, and Frances McDormand chip in with some engaging characters themselves.At the end of the day Moonrise Kingdom is a recommendable 90 minute watch. "I love you, but you don't know what you're talking about."

Super Reviewer

March 19, 2012
"Wes Anderson has done it again. An absolute delight this film was. It's my kind of film. I love these off-beat, quirky, romantic, witty films. I think the performances from the adults to the children, especially the main young ones, Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, were fantastic. It's fresh and original. Something movies today are missing. I loved the script, the directing, and the feel of the movie. A great group of very talented actor's too. Plus it had some nice tunes to top it off.
The relationship between Sam and Suzy is really sweet. I just thought they were so cute.
A unique film that should be seen. I will for sure be watching this again."
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