Monday, October 22, 2012

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

Saying Wes Anderson films are divisive is putting it lightly. I felt Life Aquatic was a very self-indulgent, but I probably would have enjoyed the same film on another day. I still don't know how it ends and I frankly don't care to revisit it just yet. It tested my patience and I will try to watch it after I am done watching the rest of his works. Tenenbaums, my first Anderson film, was a delight and I loved it so much. What boggles me is how some people dislike such a densely written, straightforward comedy. So going in with a 50/50 record, I really wanted Moonrise to work. And work it did.

Moonrise shows us many kinds of love: a) the old, withering love - searching for reasons to be together b) the unrequited love and c) a newly blossoming love. Two unusually broken outcasts with no one else to turn to, Sam and Suzy are provided with compelling reasons to be together. Corresponding for a few months through letters, they don't stand on ceremonies when they meet each other for the first time since the first time. One is running away from the family she hates while the other has no family to hate. With the prospect of being institutionalized not too enticing and that of being together dimming, they are left with very few options. There's a degree of sense in their absurdities, even when they are ready to jump off a Church bell tower.

It's very funny and original. The tree house perched on the peak, kids ganging up against Sam and then coming to his rescue, Schwartzman's Cousin Ben, Sam getting struck by a thunder.. it is clear anything can happen in Anderson's fantasy world. He makes these fairy-tale films. I guess it's just me but it often reminded me of Prisoner of Azkaban. It must be the music sung by church choir, the kids and the cold, stormy setting. The pre-existing music chosen and the score composed by Desplat made this the best sounding film of the year thus far.

I really want to live in the world of Moonrise Kingdom. This is probably the most beautiful film about young lovers before they really start thinking about sex. There's this innocence, or the lack of it, which Anderson captures. His characters, the older ones especially, are very quirky. The film's saddest moment comes when Murray talks to McDormand and realizes she doesn't love him anymore. They are sticking together just for the sake of their children and deep down they know that that is not enough. All these broken hearts are mended in one way or the other in the life-affirming final scene atop a Church. There are plenty of characters and everybody wins! Even Edward Norton's Scout Master Ward finds love.

I don't know if children are allowed to watch this film, but I'd love for my kids to see this. I predict a great future for this film. This will go on to attain the status now held by Stand By Me and The Princess Bride. It put a wide smile on my face and I cannot recommend it enough.