Moonrise Kingdom is the tale of two 12-year old children who fall in love and decide to run away together in their small New England island town. Their disappearance causes a town-wide search party to go after them during the biggest storm in the island's history.
The only reason I watched Moonrise Kingdom was because of the hype it had received during this awards season. I honestly knew nothing about the movie but I like to see the movies that get everyone's panties in a bunch. All I knew is that it had Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, and Bill Murray. Truth be told I didn't even read a synopsis until I got the Netflix envelope. Sometimes I think it's best to go into movies this way because I had absolutely no expectations or anything regarding this movie. Moonrise Kingdom was yet another film that had me walking away completely in love.
My synopsis above basically tells the backbone of this movie. Two 12-year old kids, Sam Shakusky and Suzy Bishop, meet during some sort of program at the local community center and shortly fall in love. They become pen pals as they live on different sides of the small island they both reside on and eventually they devise a plan to run away together. Sam is part of a scout group called Khaki Scouts who's scout leader, played by Edward Norton, is a down to business math teacher. Suzy is the oldest of four and is considered weird and troubled by her parents, siblings, and peers. The only person who seems to understand Suzy is Sam and the only person who seems to understand Sam is Suzy. When the plan to run away is executed, Edward Norton seeks the assistance of Suzy's parents (played by Bill Murray and Frances McDormand) and the local police captain (played by Bruce Willis) along with Sam's fellow Khaki Scouts to help find where the children have run off to.
First of all, I found the story to be rather original. We have had stories and movies of young kids who dabbled with innocent romance before but this movie was played out a little differently. The characters of Sam and Suzy were rather mature despite being 12-years old. Sam was an orphan who had been abandoned at scout camp by his foster parents and Suzy was coping with being a complete outcast in her own family. These experiences gave the children a little backbone and it made you feel like they knew what they were doing despite being so young. I think that is why the characters meshed so well together. It was absolutely brilliant.
Along with the characterization of the children I thought the adult characters were just as good. Edward Norton's performance as Scout Master Ward was almost hilarious. He plays this man who obviously took the scout master job to feel like he had a higher calling and responsibility. It was almost like he felt like having the respect of his scouts made him feel he had the control and discipline he always knew he could keep. I also loved Bruce Willis as Captain Sharp. He seemed like a good man who was just going through the motions of his life and his career until this event happened. He stepped up and wanted to do what was right for all the parties involved.
Aside from the brilliant characters I think the dialogue was perfect. The conversations Sam and Suzy had were so well written. Like I mentioned before, despite the characters only being 12 it felt like you were listening to a conversation between 20-year old adults. Somehow it worked, though. I never felt like the dialogue was unrealistic at any point. That goes for any of the characters.
I can't say enough how much I enjoyed this movie. It was a very pleasant surprise for me. I highly recommend checking out Moonrise Kingdom if you haven't done so. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did.