“Watch out for the turtles.  They’ll bite you if you put your finger in their mouth.” 

Moonrise Kingdom is the latest film from writer, producer and director Wes Anderson.  Starring Bill Murray and Bruce Willis, with Tilda Swinton, and newcomers Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman, the film tells of two children who wish to run away.

Sam is an outsider at his summer boy’s scout camp.  His parents died when he was young, and he appears to go from foster home to foster home, never truly belonging to a family.

Suzy has three younger brothers and a pair of lawyer parents who don’t love each other; her mother is cheating on her dad (cheating on Bill Murray!) with the local police officer, Captain Sharp, (cheating with Bruce Willis!) and she’s filled with rage.  Basically, she likes hitting things.

One summer, the two meet and become pen pals (this was the 60s), and as their bond grows, and they feel more and more alienated, they plan to escape together for 10 days, running away to a secluded cove.  Of course, parents usually don’t like it when 12 year olds run away together.

Visually, everything is perfect about this film, which shouldn’t be a surprise since Wes Anderson’s speciality appears to be beautifully filtered films.  Set in the 1960s, the total ambience and look of the film conveys this time; whether it’s the filter (an almost hazy, slightly tinged look), the overall framing or the little nuances and details; Sam’s hat, Suzy’s Sunday school shoes.

However, what I particularly liked about this film was the sweet storyline.  While there were no ‘big’ moments in the story, it went along at a nice pace, with downright hilarious moments (Bill Murray throws his shoe at Bruce Willis…sheer cinematographic genius), and overall had a realistic, and lovely message.

As a kid, who hasn’t felt alienated?  Who hasn’t wanted to run away, whether it’s to escape reality, or even just to get some (in our opinion much-deserved) attention from our parents?  Who hasn’t fallen head over heels in love and thought “THIS is the person I want to be with forever and ever and ever” (only to break up 3 weeks later).

While this is a comedy, it also deals with these issues delicately, making us empathise with these two socially inept 12 year olds.  With so many films today about sex, drugs or violence (all fun things of course) it’s nice to have a film that’s so simple, yet accurate.  And while that’s definitely due to the storytelling, there’s also something great about the two new actors, Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman.  In particular I thought Hayward’s deadpan, borderline emotionless portray of Suzy as absolutely perfect.

Have you seen Moonrise Kingdom?  What did you think?  Are you a fan of Wes Anderson?  Let me know!