Quirks flow in sea of whimsy

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

HE ‘‘quirky’’ quo­tient in Moonrise King­dom is off the charts, even for Wes An­der­son.

An­der­son is, af­ter all, the di­rec­tor of Bot­tle Rocket, Rush­more, The Royal Te­nen­baums, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zis­sou, The Dar­jeel­ing Lim­ited and Fan­tas­tic Mr. Fox.

Moonrise King­dom is set largely on an is­land off the coast of New Eng­land in the sum­mer of 1965, when chil­dren pass the time with jacks, board games, vinyl records and ping-pong. Ex­cept for Suzy (Kara Hay­ward), who spends her days with her nose in a fan­tasy novel and a pair of binoc­u­lars around her neck, ig­nor­ing her three broth­ers and lawyer-par­ents (Bill Mur­ray and Frances McDor­mand).

A year ear­lier at a church pageant, she met fel­low mis­fit, Sam (Jared Gil­man), 12, and their cor­re­spon­dence es­ca­lated to plans to run away – pos­si­bly thanks to Sam’s skills as a boy scout.

The movie opens with Scout Mas­ter Ward (Ed­ward Nor­ton) dis­cov­er­ing Sam isn’t in his tent, con­tact­ing the lo­cal po­lice cap­tain (Bruce Wil­lis) and launch­ing a search that broad­ens to in­clude Suzy. A so­phis­ti­cated run­away, Suzy totes a gold suit­case full of hard­back books, a record player so she can lis­ten to Fran­coise Hardy, a kit­ten and a red plaid bag.

Sam and Suzy have the sort of fan­tasy ad­ven­ture usu­ally fea­tured in one of her li­brary books, com­plete with a sum­mer ro­mance and mag­i­cal es­cape, an or­phan, se­crets brought to light, a brew­ing storm, an act of hero­ism and mild vi­o­lence with scis­sors, ar­rows and a shoe.

Writ­ten by An­der­son and Ro­man Cop­pola, Moonrise King­dom floats along on a sea of whim­si­cal and pe­riod-cen­tric de­tails: a coon­skin cap, a man­ual type­writer, an­i­mal cos­tumes for a Noah’s Ark pageant and a bull­horn used to sum­mon chil­dren inside a house.

The young leads are sur­rounded by Nor­ton, Mur­ray, McDor­mand, Wil­lis, Tilda Swin­ton, Ja­son Schwartz­man, Har­vey Kei­tel and Bob Bal­a­ban (as a nar­ra­tor).

Some of the adults are more in­ter­est­ing than the kids, but you barely get to know them.

An­der­son’s movies are marked by ec­cen­tric­ity and off­beat charm, but there’s usu­ally a layer of some­thing deeper un­der­neath. Moonrise King­dom fea­tures char­ac­ters stung by loss, in­fi­delity and dis­ap­point­ment, but it tilts to­ward the hope of young love, in­no­cence, sec­ond chances and lots of quirks.

opens to­day.

Kara Hay­ward, as Suzy, and Jared Gil­man, as Sam, in Wes An­der­son’s

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