If, on an especially imaginative day, you were to set out with a copy of Peter Pan, a few Grant Wood prints, some choir music and the pangs of a childhood romance, you would arrive at Moonrise Kingdom.
How can I thank Wes Anderson enough for giving me, in this day and age of gratuitous visual effects and beheaded movie plots, a beautifully creased canoe-ticket to sincere and heartfelt cinema? With its obsessively centralized frames, the poignancy of its ubiquitous plot, its periodic puffs of absurdism, its insufferable romanticism, its nods to the weary adults who have fought and failed, its nods to the children who are fighting and refuse to fail, its haunting music, its aptly timed thunderstorms and aptly timed conscience-awakenings, Moonrise Kingdom is one of the loveliest movies I have seen so far. I cannot stop thinking about it!
I have difficulty as it is keeping the Neverland-induced mix of feverishness, flutters and lumpy throat-ness at bay, and Moonrise Kingdom has now injected me with more of the same. The insular movement of the characters, the almost unreal Polaroid-coloured terrain are like the longing in your mind a dream leaves in its wake. If you have ever been a romantic in dogged pursuit of love, ridicule fast on your tail, you will experience palpitations caused by deep kinship while watching this film.
And no, Anderson does not cheer on the protagonists in any way so sentimental as to make you lose interest, he stirs some truly bizarre scenarios along with his support, some real kookiness. Mrs. Bishop making domestic announcements on a microphone, Suzy’s attack on an ill-fated scout with scissors (very Wednesday Addams style), that amusing, endearing confidence and worldly-wisdom with which Sam nods and says ‘True’ to things, Scoutmaster Ward’s well-intentioned marches and lunges which end in droopy blog entries (Edward Norton is remarkable as ever) and the climatic decision-making in animal costume at the steeple, together with the fall that culminates in the absurdly symbolic ‘Don’t let go’, are all examples of the distinct Andersonian flavour of the film.
Packed with vintage knick knacks, allusions to poetry and religion (our two strongest comforts and chokeholds) and little gestures of affection that are bound to eat into forgotten regions of you, Moonrise Kingdom succeeds where so many romantic comedies and dramas fail – in maintaining the sanctity of love.