Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Moonrise Kingdom (4 Stars)

This is a film that I would never have watched under normal circumstances. Nothing about it appealed to me. However, a friend of mine gave it me as a gift last year. It's been lying on my shelf ever since, and I wasn't sure whether I would watch it or not. I'm glad I did. I'm also glad that I watched it on Valentine's Day. However, I'm still not sure I understand what I've just watched. It's a film that is somehow surreal, and I'm sure that that the director wants to give us a message, but I have no idea what it is. Maybe I should watch the Blu-ray extra features to hunt for clues.

The film takes place in 1965 on a fictional island off the coast of New England called New Penzance Island. A group of boy scouts is camping. One of the boys disappears, and it turns out that he's run away with a local girl. Both of them are 12 years old, and both are social outcasts.

The romance between Sam and Suzy is poignant and quaint, but painfully awkward. Isn't 12 too young for a couple to elope? Anything under 14 is hard for me to take seriously. Even when I was 14 I wouldn't have run away with a girl, I would just have sneaked away with her for a few kisses in private.

Eventually the couple are found. That's when the film gets really strange. Sam is an orphan, and after his escapade his foster parents don't want him back, so he's told that he'll be put in an orphanage. Due to his alleged violent tendencies he's threatened with electric shock treatment. Even though he's always been unpopular among his fellow scouts they rally behind him to protect him. One of the scoutmasters performs a marriage ceremony, although he warns the couple that the marriage might not be recognised in most American states. I could have guessed that myself.

So the couple go on the run again, this time with the assistance of the boy scout community.

I was never a member of the boy scouts, so I have to ask: are they really such a well disciplined group? The scout camps seem like paramilitary organisations.

This is a sweet film, even though I don't really understand it. The colour contrasts are typical for Wes Anderson's films, and the high quality supporting cast make the film even more enjoyable.

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