My roommate, Nicole, invited me to the showing of Moonrise Kingdom as part of her birthday celebration. I had seen the trailer and gathered that it’s a film about two kids in New England who decide to runaway together. The film takes place in the sixties. I would have dismissed the movie if it wasn’t for the cast and the pretty movie trailer (and the 94% rotten tomatoes rating also helped). I swept aside my Asian guilt (I thought about spending this evening coding) and joined her and her friends for the movie showing.
Moonrise Kingdom, whose title sounds like a Chinese martial arts movie, is so pretty. It’s like candy to your eyes and ears. It’s so pretty that I wanted to take frames out of it and post it around my room. Every scene is like a vintage polaroid photo. An advertisement from the 60s. It’s as if Wes Anderson shot the movie through Instagram.
The plot is simple and yet each moment is full of innocence, wonderment, and adventure. And Wes Anderson portrays children as complete human being with full mental faculty and emotional complexity! But frankly all that stands out in my memory is the color palette. The sepia and pink hues, the golden fields, washed out blues, red and green standing out against the desaturated background. There is such a decisive and consistent look throughout the film.
I guess one thing that slightly bothered me was the visual imagery of the night time scene. The rain is pouring and it’s the evening. And either the director or the post-production crew decided to blue-filter the sh#$ out of it. So everyone’s faces look blue. Like ghosts. I didn’t particularly like the look but maybe it was the look they were going for.
I appreciated that the film didn’t water down childhood. I find that childhood portrayed through Hollywood is either idealistic, fantastical, really sad and dreary, or some other end of the spectrum. The subtlety and complexity is usually entirely missing. Wes Anderson deals with it very delicately, being careful not to shift to the extremes I mentioned. And the acting from these kids is amazing. I loved the gaze of the main character (the girl). It’s always distant and full of meaning, and we can never really guess all that goes inside her head.
Overall, I loved it. Two hours well spent and coding could wait.