I’ve been mulling over Moonrise Kingdom for some time, trying to work through how I really feel about it. When friends and coworkers gush over their reactions to the film and Anderson’s “brilliant new direction” I just keep quiet because I honestly don’t know if I can agree with them. Let me explain.
Opening night I went to see Andersons magnum opus. To say I was excited is a vast understatement. I was filled to overflowing with that kind of crazed fan eagerness that admittedly grows exponentially with every new release. As I sat through the film smiling ear to ear I waited patiently for that “impact”, you know the one I mean, the big dark moment in all of his movies that counterbalances all of the cute cinematography and the quirky characters (things that I love about his work have you) and provides a beautiful, deep, and painful reality in life, even in a very make-believe world. But suddenly the movie was over and well… I felt a little cheated. Where was the truth in this story?
Now before you react in horror and disbelief, before you call me a traitor and explain all of the cinematic reasons as to why Anderson is a genius to American film, please know that I already agree with you. I uphold and nearly worship the very things that make him unique from any other filmmaker out there, i.e. his shot compositions, his signature documentary aesthetic, and his wild bunch of neurotic characters all deeply explored by exceptional actors. It’s just that those things alone were not enough to carry this story (for me).
I may be wrong here, in fact I hope I am wrong. I want to see it again and catch what I might have missed all along… If you have any input please share.
P.S. The image above, of Sam and Suzy dancing wildly on the beach in celebration of their freedom, is one of my all time favorite moments in a film ever.