It's been a long time since I laughed so hard at the movies. Moonrise Kingdom is more of a surrealist or absurdist fantasy than your traditional laugh-track Will Ferrell or Adam Sandler schtick, but is much better for it. It tells the tale of two children, Suzy and Sam, living on opposite ends of a small island in the summer of 1965 – the summer, the narrator tells us, of the island's worst storm ever. The island, while lacking any real supernatural element, brims with the magic of young eyes and imaginations – the kind of naivete found in children is here replicated to capture the imaginations of even the most jaded viewer. Falling in love, the two young lovers run away from home, while the entire island chases in pursuit. The romance that happens between Sam and Suzy occupies a relatively mundane world from our eyes, but through their eyes becomes a harrowing trek worthy of a Shakespeare. One can imagine Calaban and Ariel alongside the choruses and narrator that make their place in Moonrise Kingdom.
While the comedy is absurd and surreal at times, it can be none-the-less side-splitting. The interesting way in which it is presented means that the humor moves beyond humor at points, instead bordering on the edge of absurd fantasy. It is also of such a caliber that merits a second or third viewing, without losing any of its effect. But, most importantly, at the center of a drama of what seems merely childish bravado, Moonrise Kingdom portrays real courage, self-sacrifice, and love that proves their naivete isn't merely what it seems. The world is immersive and convincing – I found myself enraptured even from the opening credits, without a single break in my interest. The characters are all of them engaging and interesting, with deep psychological and moral motivations in each. Wes Anderson creates not merely a two-hour tour of the island, but a world. And it's a world of magic that leaves you charmed.
My Rating: 9 out of 10