Moonrise Kingdom 2012 ★★★★

Well I'll be...

This is a great day. A fabulous day.
Feb 16 2013: The first day that I liked a Wes Anderson film. Finally!

My first date with Anderson was over 10 years ago. It should have gone swimmingly. Deadpan comedy. Quirky. Bill Murray. But alas, it was a disaster. After 1 hour of trying really hard, I realized that doing laundry was preferable to spending another minute with him and Rushmore.

The second date was no better. Even Gene Gene the Acting Machine couldn't hold my interest. It is not possible to have cared any less for the Tenenbaum family than I did. But I stuck around for the duration, determined to see if perhaps Mr. Anderson's Midas Touch is all about his endings. Yeah, not so much.

What was wrong with me? On paper Anderson was my favourite director. I couldn't not love him.

So I watched the Tenenbaums again the next day with the commentary track. Surely someone would explain what it was I wasn't seeing. Nope. Nothing.

Third time the charm? This time it was with The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Not the worst date ever, but really kind of boring. Certainly nothing to write home about.

That was it. I had accepted that he and I would never get along. In the years since I've thought about him a lot, and have always wondered why we didn't click. It was too incongruous. We had to get along. So I decided to give him one last shot.

Feb 16 2013.
Moonrise Kingdom.
It was a blast! It was a hit! I loved it! I was charmed right from the first minute and smiled throughout the entire adventure. I was giddy, I was so happy. I wanted to shout "Wes Anderson - I Get You Now!" from the front of the boat.

If the film had ended right after the special ceremony (to avoid spoilers), it would have been a perfect film. 5 stars. For Wes Anderson. From me. What a day. But alas, the last act had to happen. The craft requires it I guess, even though I certainly didn't. Oh it was all done nicely and there was nothing bad, but the giddiness was gone and just a fraction of the charm remained.

But at this point, none of that matters.
All that matters is that on Feb 16 2013 I fell in love with a Wes Anderson movie.
That might open up a few doors.
I might like Rushmore now.
I might like Tenenbaums now.
And if I do, Mr. Anderson will go down in history as the only director to win my affections after a full decade of wooing.


  • Great review Lise. I could have written this I felt exactly the same. Rushmore was a snoozefest. Tenenbaums I tried to watch 2 days on the trot to no effect. Fantastic Mr Fox I thought not so fantastic. Don't even get me started on Steve Zissou. I wanted to love Anderson so much but it always felt like when you spend an hour doing a puzzle to find the middle piece missing and you kick whole thing across the room in rage and disappointment. Moonrise Kingdom finally made that final piece click into place and now all is as it should be. The film is a delight. Now it is just a case of pencilling in the rewatches of his back catalogue.

  • @ Jonathan White - hmm this could have been a huge defining factor in why I loved Moonrise. good point.

  • This is a fascinating take on Wes Anderson movies. I have not seen Moonrise Kingdom yet, but I also struggled with Rushmore, Tennanbaums and Life Aquatic. I quite liked The Fantastic Mr Fox, but absolutely loved Darjeeling. My cousin, whose opinion I value highly cannot get enough of his movies so it is interesting to hear that I am not the only one struggling with his methods.

  • JimDocker I only hope I enjoy the next one I watch, or I'll feel like I am back to square one!

  • I adore Moonrise Kingdom, watched it again the other night. Rushmore is great, Fantastic Mr Fox is very good, Life Aquatic has fantastic moments but is a bit messy and style over substance, Darjeeling is good. I can't understand how people don't love Royal Tenenbaums, one of my favorite movies ever.

  • This is a great day for me. A fabulous day. The first day I'm more critical of a quality film than you are :). In fact, my overall feelings about Anderson seem to be opposite. I liked Rushmore, loved The Royal Tenenbaums, and had this one had a copout, slapstick ending that distracted from his heroes' darker demons he hinted at in the first half.

    All that having been said, I'm glad you get Anderson, and please revisit The Royal Tenenbaums :)

  • Christopher, great opening ;-) Seems you aren't alone in that view. Many who love his previous work didn't take to Moonrise. There must be something different about this one, because what seems to also be true is that many who don't like his previous works quite enjoyed this one.

  • Tom Walsh, I don't know why I just noticed your reply now. Sorry about that. Isn't it strange how we both felt the exact same about the exact same films? I wonder if you went back to his catalogue after Moonrise? I haven't yet but hope to in the near future.

  • No worries Lise. I just think Moonrise Kingdom took a whole new fresh approach to his usual tropes, it felt like the right kind of quirky, if that makes sense. That or perhaps my snese of humour has evolved slightly? I have not revisited any of his previous films yet but I am intrigued by Grand Budapest Hotel, and that will be the next test and will decide whether I caould call myself an Anderson fan, or whether Moonrise was a one time deal only.

  • Ah right, I keep forgetting there's a new one coming soon. Maybe I'll see that one next too. If I like it I'll do the catalogue.

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