The good old days.
From its potent idiosyncrasy to its ceaseless, yet stylistically flexible humour Moonrise Kingdom is childlike, but in no way simpler or less serious than any of Wes Anderson’s previous films. In fact, it eclipses each of them with a mature expression of childhood complexities. Beneath the varying layers of peculiarity, eccentricity and comedy is a meaningful reflection of relationships, family and love.
For this whimsical adventure Anderson renews the combination of stylised quirkiness and childlike sensibility that had worked exceptionally for his stop-motion adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic piece of children’s literature. With aplomb, the acclaimed director weaves a fascinating story about children, from a child’s perspective, but targeted towards an adult audience. The key aspect of the film’s universal appeal is the association with nostalgia.
The audience are invited to the sepia-tinted sixties, but whether you’ve experience this particular period first-hand is arbitrary because Anderson perfectly captures the mood and memories of childhood summers. From the moment it begins Moonrise Kingdom evokes the notion of having an unlimited amount of fun in a limited amount of time.
But, not only does the film provide any audience with fond memories of their own childhood, it also leaves them remembering the beginnings of Andersons’ career. The ambitious, self-conscious and unpretentious approach of Moonrise Kingdom reminds us of the great debut film that sky-rocketed his career and the subsequent Rushmore. Unfortunately, much of his time since the early releases has been spent with repetitive, increasingly frustrating films that pushed the limits of pretentiousness. His much-maligned quirkiness, eccentric, vinyl-wielding characters and fascination with randomness has fast become very grating on audiences. Fantastic Mr Fox was a glorious return to form for the famed director and provided the first hint that the director’s unique style would work best with a less pretentious, more childish approach.
Moonrise Kingdom has all the familiar elements that make up Anderson’s unique style, but they are complemented by a newfound sense of childishness. Never before has his style worked so well. The result is a terrific piece of cinema, a thoroughly enjoyable experience and to date Anderson’s finest film yet.