'Moonrise Kingdom'

'Moonrise Kingdom'
  • ‘Moonrise Kingdom’
  • Starring: Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray
  • Directed by: Wes Anderson
  • Rated: PG-13

Enough of wondering if this delightful new movie from Wes Anderson is going to come to local theaters — just be glad it is within driving distance because it’s worth the trip.

More akin to “Rushmore” than some of his other seven films, Anderson weaves a tale of young love in a remote New England island community set in 1965. Even with a top-heavy cast, most of whom have appeared in other Anderson films, the true stars are the 12-year-olds who fall in love and run away together. Sam (Jared Gilman) is a loner outcast at scout camp when he meets Suzy (Kara Hayward), a local girl.

After exchanging a series of terse love notes, the two agree to run away into the woods where they enjoy an idyllic few days before they are found by a search party including the island’s only policeman (Bruce Willis), the bewildered Khaki Scout Master (Edward Norton) and Suzy’s parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand).

Anderson’s whimsical fancy of a film contains some heavy themes of abandonment and alienation, and it’s all so sweet natured. Anderson’s critics bemoan the oddness of most of his characters. No one seems quite real, and with names like Social Services (Tilda Swinton — a weird doppleganger for Anderson) and Left Eye, it’s understandable, and yet they express more emotional depth and dimension than his work is given credit for.

Here to fit the time period, Anderson uses a cloudy yellowish  color scheme like a carousel of old Kodak slides from an early family vacation. But his true quirky brilliance is found in the accompanying soundtrack that includes classical pieces, Hank Williams and some funky French music. Only Anderson would build a movie around an obscure Benjamin Britten opera and make liberal use of Britten’s “A Young Person’s Guide to The Orchestra.” The best is his incorporation of Britten’s “Playful Pizzicato” during the search scene.

To say more would spoil the joy of seeing this. Make it a double feature with “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” also playing at the Landmark River Oaks in Houston.