There are some directors you admire but don’t enjoy. Except for Rushmore, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and now Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson is that kind of director for me.
His visual style is distinctive. He creates quirky microcosms of the world that evoke a dreamy commentary on things that (for the most part) I cannot connect with (in a way that moves me).
I read once in a review or article a comparison that resonated at the time, but I can’t recall where I read it and have been unsuccessful in my feeble attempts to track it down (so if you know the source, leave the information in a comment).
The author said something to the effect that watching a Wes Anderson film was like going to an elegant dinner party with erudite guests where a precocious 12-year-old is seated at the table with the adults. The child is bright, talkative, and intermittently entertaining, but there comes a point in the evening when you want to tell him that it’s time to go to bed so that the grown ups can talk.
Moonrise Kingdom represents a big transition for me in terms of Wes Anderson’s oeuvre. This film not only engages my senses with Anderson’s dazzling aesthetic sensibilities (the use of composition, the use of color, the overall production design, the editing, the odd yet oddly spot on music selections), but it engages my heart, too.
Two young people, both troubled misfits, fall in love and run away together. This throws the New England island where she lives and he attends a summer camp into disarray. That’s all you need to know about the plot. The young leads (Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman) and the more famous older actors surrounding them are terrific (Frances McDormand, Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Harvey Keitel – what a cast!).
Here’s a funny personal note. Without giving away too much about the story, there is a scene in the film that involves the young man, Sam, making some earrings out of bugs for his love, Suzy.
When my son was young, I had a whole collection of bug jewelry that I bought at the gift shop of a science museum. The earrings in the movie look a lot like those green ones in the lower right of this photo.
I haven’t worn them much in recent years, but I think I should wear them all week in celebration of this lovely film. I wonder if anyone will make the connection?