Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

Starring Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Kara Hayward, Bill Murray, Jared Gilman, Jason Schwartzman, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and Bob Balaban
Directed by Wes Anderson

by Joshua Simpkins

Is Wes Anderson’s new film, Moonrise Kingdom, a chick flick? My first response would be a loud, “No!” His films are extremely hard to categorize because they are so uniquely is own. In fact, his films could fall into anything but the chick flick genre. They are incredibly funny, but also incredibly sad. For every ounce, of quirkiest, is an extreme level of depth. They can be comedies. They can be dramatic. But, to consider one a chick flick? Never! Then, I started to think about it. What actually does make a chick flick? What do all chick flicks have in common?

One element that all chick flicks have in common is a love story. This goes for any movie within the genre, whether it is a romantic comedy, romance, or drama. It takes a couple that is in love, or should be in love, and keeps them apart. We watch how they get together. That is the movie. That is a chick flick. So, with that in mind, Moonrise Kingdom could easily be put in the same category, as a chick flick. It is a possibly a chick flick in disguise.

The film is a coming –of-age tale, set in 1965, on a small island, that begins with Troop 55, led by Edward Norton. He runs a tight ship, but quickly learns that one of his khaki scouts has, “flew the coop.” That khaki scout, is Sam (played to perfection by Jared Gilman), a rambunctious foster child, who parents died years ago. Norton and his troop, frantically search for Sam before enlisting the help, of the local police Captain, played by Bruce Willis. Sam is on his way to meet Suzy (Kara Hayward); the two fell in love, after meeting the previous summer at the church play. They meet up, disappear into the woods, and the island goes into a frenzy, when her father (Bill Murray) and mother (Frances McDormand) and many other locals get involved.

Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward carry the film. The acting is so good that Anderson’s make believe world comes alive making it easy to feel the children’s isolation and love for one another. They fit into their characters so perfectly that we feel they’re naiveté, ambition, and love for each other. Although they are just children, they seem destined to be together against all odds. But, as with most chick flicks, Are they doomed to be apart?

Anderson’s films are all about the details and Moonrise Kingdom has more than its fair share. In fact, this film seems to have more details than all of Anderson’s previous work combined. The cinematography and art direction are superb. The acting and costume design are top rate. Moonrise Kingdom is the culmination of more than a decade of unique, complex and heartfelt films. Still, it feels like Anderson’s most complete work to date. 

Is Moonrise Kingdom a chick flick?  Probably not when compared to what is typically considered a chick flick.  It does contain the same plot element of many, if not all, chick flicks.  That is, will the protagonists ever be together?  Either way, Moonrise Kingdom is a unique experience today with everything being about explosions and CGI.  It is refreshing and makes the perfect date movie for someone looking for something a little out of the norm.  Why do you have that tape on your nose?  Exactly.

 FORCE THE BOYFRIEND:  8 out of 10 (Wes Anderson's style is not for everyone- personally, I give it a 10)

 Beer Pairing Recommendation
I think it would be appropriate to take a budwieser, rip off the label,
write "Beer" in futura font, and mix it with milk.
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