This is quite the special moment for me, I’m reviewing this movie before it officially hits the cinemas on the 10th of August here in Estonia because I managed to drag myself to the Love Film Festival in Tartu called Tartuff. 2012 marked its seventh year and since I’ve missed out on some of the earlier years and last year, I thought it would be great to enjoy it this year as I’m leaving in weeks time.
Tartuff is an open air film festival, people are sitting in the chairs and on the ground, even in the rain since the screening of Moonrise Kingdom got a little wet with 10 minutes of rain – still an experience I fully enjoyed. I mean, thousands of people come together to watch a movie and they even endure the rain.. well at least most of them. In addition to that, the whole outdoors thing just makes the movie somehow better – no idea how but I guess the atmosphere and the context give a certain memorable extra something to the movie. Although Moonrise Kingdom is not the kind of movie that needs something extra special because it is just that on its own.
As much I would like to talk about the rest of the program of 2012 Tartuff, I sadly didn’t get the chance to participate in the other screenings but I’m glad I got to see Moonrise Kingdom in the first place. The time I had the urge to see this movie was when Love & Squalor did a review on it, the beginning of the review and the high marks raised an interest, I tried to avoid it for the spoilers (those things are really annoying) but I went back to it after watching the movie. No doubt that Wilde.Dash knows her thing and writes about Moonrise Kingdom things I couldn’t even conduct in my mind in my native language, that led me to think about how this movie review could be simplified.
Since on a much higher level of criticism, Wilde.Dash approaches the movie from an angle I don’t dare to, much to do with the fact that I’m not as familiar with Wes Anderson’s work, it leaves me in a place of unknown. It is certain that his movies are special, on a level of symbolism and meta-meanings I could go on and discuss several topics around Moonrise Kingdom, but I think that to look at it from a perspective of a regular person might become interesting enough for a review and let’s face it, a much better solution for me at this moment.
Since the screening of Moonrise Kingdom happened in front of hundreds, I can’t quite shake the feeling that some of them didn’t get the appeal. There were laughs, I laughed and heard several people around me do the same – but as far as laughs in the cinema go, for such as The Avengers, the crowd seemed less impressed. It might have been the rain as well but that happened in the second part of the movie, it was the first half that was filled with sarcastic and ironic humorous situations between the two main characters. I’m going on a limb here and say that Moonrise Kingdom is a childlike look on society and not all see it as funny.
I’m putting a lot of faith in people when I say that they got the idea of looking at the society from the eyes of the children is somewhat a way to say that adults are too serious and complicated. As well as showing that children and grown-ups are in some ways on the same level where the kids are as capable to solve problems. Still, avoiding the over all serious topic I wonder why the audience wasn’t laughing as enthusiastically as I was. Maybe it has to do with the fact that Moonrise Kingdom uses the darker shade of humor, the kind that isn’t in your face but is in the details and the ways it is presented – such as giving children dialogs that evolve problems, depression and sex. It makes it funny because we aren’t used to the idea of these topics being presented by young, and most of the time, innocent and cheerful kids.
Bruce Willis and Edward Norton give amazing performances as they portray the not so capable adults which goes against their regular roles. That is why I love them and enjoyed them in Moonrise Kingdom as much as I enjoyed the acting debuts of the leading roles.
As I appreciate that humor far more than the offensive type in The Hangover or The Bridesmaids, people who find the latter hilarious might not get the former. The way Suzy (Kara Hayward) appears in the opening scenes out of nowhere with her binoculars and Sam (Jared Gilman) has escaped the tent with a hole behind the poster, is a fun and unusual method to get the viewers laughing. But one has to see it as fun to be able to laugh, getting unattached from the seriousness the observer must let go and enjoy. It also explains why the movie was made with kids – they allow more without going over the limit. The topics at hand, such as bad parenting, being an orphan or fitting in while being different, are put into an ironic context with up-front dialogs and without filtering the minds of the characters trough the eyes of kids and with an unreal way of revealing the story lines, and with that Moonrise Kingdom doesn’t let sorrow and serious matters take its humor.
When I said I’m trying to simplify the review I might have lied because as it turns out, putting yourself in the minds of the regular viewer is probably impossible when you have emerged from regular into an enthusiast. Moonrise Kingdom brought the enthusiast out of me and despite my plan to make it simple I ended up making things even more complicated for myself. My apologize if you made it this far and were hoping for a light and cheerful review, to be honest, Moonrise Kingdom is a light movie indeed but it is ironic how I’m not able to review it as such.
Images from various sources.