Moonrise Kingdom a movie reviewed by James Berardinelli. Rated 3 ½/4

August 30, 2012 by James Berardinelli - Reelviews
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Few working directors are as consistently, dependably quirky as Wes Anderson, whose films tend to excite art house audiences while being ignored and bypassed by mainstream movie-goers..writes James Berardinelli.

His latest, Moonrise Kingdom, represents one of his best, in large part because it tones down some of the more abstruse elements of his style in favor of greater accessibility and stronger character identification. One knock against some of Anderson’s previous efforts is that they’re too clever – so clever, in fact, that the humanity gets sucked out of them. That doesn’t happen here. Moonrise Kingdom is lovingly crafted with an attention to detail that is breathtaking while, at the same time, it displays genuine affection for its young protagonists, reserving any cynicism for the adults, who can be said to more closely resemble typical “Anderson characters.”

Few things in life are more urgent and transcendent than a pre-teen romance embarked upon at a time before sexual desire has crystallized beyond a vague curiosity and “love” is a term for which true meaning remains elusive. The writers of Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson and Ramon Coppola, have excellent memories. Both are in their 40s (Coppola was born in 1965, Anderson in 1969) yet they have brought this story to the screen through the eyes of 12-year olds. Therein lies the movie’s route to success; it gets us to remember our youth and imagine how things might have been for us in these circumstances. The movie’s innate innocence springs from its adoption of this viewpoint. And it builds the perspective by subtle cues and easy-to-miss details that feed directly into the viewer’s subconscious.

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