September 2, 2014
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Moonrise Kingdom
Don Fowler
4 stars
Reviewer's Rating:

(Quirky black comedy)

This quirky black comedy by Wes Anderson is nostalgic, outrageous, outlandish and, in Joyce’s word, “stupid.”

I loved it! Even Joyce admitted that it was fun and funny, in spite of its quirkiness.

While it was shot in Rhode Island, there are few recognizable landmarks, except for the Ocean House and Newport’s Trinity Church. I did recognize the entrance to the Protestant Chapel at the Yawgoog Scout Reservation. I probably enjoyed the film more because it was a wonderful spoof on the Boy Scouts, referred to the Khaki Scouts, probably to avoid a law suit.

The story takes place on New Penzance Island, where Sam (Jared Gilman) runs away from his troop, meeting up with Suzy (Kara Hayward), a girl who lives on the other end of the island whom he met the previous year. The odd couple runs away together, forming one of the strangest relationships you will ever see on screen. While they are both loners and “difficult children,” they have very little in common.

Sam uses his scouting skills to follow a map, set up camp and survive in the woods. Suzy tags along with her suitcase full of books.

And if you think they are odd, wait until you meet Sam’s foster parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand,) who tell the authorities they don’t want Sam back when they find them.

Edward Norton plays the cigarette-smoking scoutmaster (It was the ’60s), Bruce Willis is the local police chief, and Tilda Swinton is the social worker who helicopters to the island just before a hurricane hits. Bob Balaban is the narrator who ties the kooky story together.

The relationship between Sam and Suzy is both innocent and complex. Here are two lonely, rejected kids with little in common except their difficulties in dealing with others.

The action picks up when the police chief, Suzy’s parents and the entire scout camp search for the runaways. There are a number of surprises and incidents that are hysterically funny, if you like that sort of dark humor. I do, a bit more than Joyce.

The hurricane finally arrives, leading to some outrageous happenings that require you to suspend your logic and go with the flow. It all leads to a wild and crazy – and satisfying – ending.

Rated PG-13, with an adult take on childish behavior.


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