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Review - Moonrise Kingdom...Is This Wes Anderson's Best?

Only Wes Anderson, the king of quirk, cast two children who had never acted in leading roles. Jared Gilman, 12 at the time and Kara Hayward 14, knock it out of the park. The characters speak quickly and often making no sense, that is, with the exception of the children. The children are all wise beyond their years and learn from their mistakes, whereas the adults, well, they do as adults do, since the dawn of time. They repeat theirs over and over, because they are restricted by rules as is depicted obviously and openly in a scene towards the end.

Many will find the movie silly, because they watch Anderson's films the same way they watch something like Whiplash or Boyhood. They need to make sense of a child's life as an adult, where Anderson lets the children stay children, but allows us all to learn. Even with subject matter as recognizable as first love, we're shown the pain, the frustration and the inept attempts of the adult world to understand that this is everything to us. This is true love, because it's indefinable.

There are things the prudish will be bothered by, such as kids kissing, a breast felt and the mention of a boy's erection, but it is the innocence with how it is handled that amazes me. In the same scenes where the boy and girl share their first kiss and she allows him to touch her breast, he also reveals that he might wet the bed and commends her on her reading. She is impressed by his chivalry and the simple fact he notices her among the crowd, despite her being what adults would call out of his league. Some will be bothered by Suzy being depicted as sexy, but they must realize this was the style of 1965 and upon careful inspection, her "adult" makeup looks like it was put on by a child. Something that immediately shows, not only her immaturity, but her parents lack of attentions towards her. In the end it's as innocent as any child romance and those that see differently are probably confirming Anderson's point, that we adults just don't get it or have forgotten how it feels.

True film fans will go bananas with all the little references to other films, many even recent, such as Shawshank Redemption, Titanic and even the Godfather. The music is music many of listened to as children in our parents attempt to introduce us to classical music. I won't pretend to understand the corn metaphors, but I'm sure someone will point out how obvious it was. I took it as this. When we think of corn, we think of Native Americans and all camps have Native American names. We also have taken that over and claimed it as our own, much like the land, which may be a metaphor for how age has taken over our innocence. I don't know. I can figure out Interstellar, Inception and Memento in ten minutes, but this corn thing has me baffled. It doesn't matter.

The film is shot with the wonderfully ridiculous style of Anderson and his mind and it ads to it completely. The yellow hues in nearly every scene with the children show the bright sunshine and the simplistic metaphor for sunny outlooks, while each scene with the adults is blue, brown or grey, depicting the solemn reality of being an adult. Maybe that's what hits home. Maybe I simply miss chasing Jenny Singer all over the halls, waiting til the final day of school for that kiss on the cheek, which got me through the summer of '83.


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