Newcomers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward play lonely young eccentrics who meet by chance in 1965 and plan to run away together on the New England coastal island where she lives. This causes consternation on the part of Gilman’s scout leader, played by Edward Norton, Hayward’s oddball parents, Frances McDormand and Bill Murray, and the local police chief, Bruce Willis. Their lives are interconnected in this small community, even more so as the search for the two runaways continues. As it happens, the frustrated and largely incompetent adults seem less mature than the boy and girl who, for all their peccadilloes, are genuine soul mates.
I wish I liked the two young actors better; it certainly isn’t their fault, but warmth is not Anderson’s strongest suit and he doesn’t allow them to win us over as, ironically, a more conventional Hollywood director might. The grownups, playing their often-buffoonish roles in deadpan style, are amusing and bring much-needed appeal to the proceedings.
I can’t ignore, or disparage, the sheer originality of Moonrise Kingdom, from its peculiar characters to their peculiar homes. But I wish I felt something more.
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