Friday 17 June 2016

Review: Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

When I watched The Grand Budapest Hotel last year, I had to admit it was the first Wes Anderson movie I’d seen. I remember a good few of our blogging buddies recommending Moonrise Kingdom to me, and I’m just sorry it’s taken me quite this long to give it a go! After exposing myself to more action moves than I could handle, I was ready for something quieter, and this was the perfect choice.

Moonrise Kingdom (2012) is a beautiful story of young love. Sam (Jared Gilman) is a member of the Khaki Scouts, extremely skilled but liked by no one. He lost both of his parents and currently lives with foster parents, who he has difficulty with. Suzy (Cara Hayward) is a troubled young girl whose parents don’t know how to deal with her. Together, they decide to run away, which sparks a huge search party to look for them.

I now understand the skill that others have in spotting Wes Anderson’s work so quickly. The colourful characters, camera shots, fancy title opening, even the colour yellow, after watching just two of his movies these things are already standing out to me. It’s really quite fascinating. That said, I loved The Grand Budapest so much that I had really high hopes for Moonrise Kingdom, and I wasn’t let down.


We can all sympathise with Sam and Suzy. When you’re 12 years old, it’s easy to fall in love with someone, and feel like the whole world is against you. In fact, he won’t thank me for this, but when one of my brothers was younger than Sam, he proposed to his girlfriend on the school playground, and they vowed to get married when they were old enough. It didn’t happen, but they remained very good friends!

Moonrise Kingdom had a great mix of a being a heartwarming, relatable story, but with just enough exaggeration to make it exciting, like Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton) leaping an impossible distance, and Sam surviving being struck by lightning. It’s like how we all tell our own stories, making certain moments more heroic or dramatic to make them more interesting.


The star studded cast just added another element to the movie. Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis) is a compassionate man who just wants the best for Sam, despite barely knowing him. Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton) provides most of the comedy as the bumbling leader who can’t control his scouts. Mr Bishop (Bill Murray) is the classic grumpy Dad who argues with authority. Mrs Bishop (Frances McDormand) is the perfect worrying, struggling mother, and last but not least, the Social Services lady (Tilda Swinton) is cold and heartless. Just a great cast all round!

I’m so glad I finally watched Moonrise Kingdom, and now I’m on the lookout for my next Wes Anderson movie. Can anyone recommend one for me?


  1. I'll start with where you should go next...Rushmore. It is one of my all-time favorite films. I saw it right when it came out on DVD (like 17 years ago now...YIKES!!), and it changed my life. I was 15, a budding film buff, and it was just everything.

    I LOVE all of Anderson's films, but Moonrise Kingdom is his best and easily the one I want to go back to the most. My wife adores it. We watch it four or five times a year at least. You really hit that nail on the head with the cast...Anderson is well-known for assembling perfect ensembles (for the best in that vein, you'll want The Royal Tenenbaums, which most regard as his best).

    It's funny you mentioned his use of color. I went in-depth on his yellows (mostly) and other aspects of his color palette during the Five Senses Blogathan. Check that out. Good luck on your ventures into the world of Wes Anderson. It is lovely.

    1. Thanks so much for this, Kevin! I've heard of Rushmore, but it must have been from reading reviews of other Wes Anderson movies. It's straight on my watch list now, for sure. Watch this space!
      - Allie

  2. Grand Budapest was also my first Wes film. It was my favourite of 2014. This was the one I watched next to... and, well I can't disagree with anything you've said. Its bloody great! I love Ed Norton's character

    1. Ooh great minds think alike eh! I'm glad to hear though, I was worried my confession would be met with disgrace! Looking forward to my next Wes Anderson movie now :)
      - Allie