Step Out With Me, Red-Haired Girl: “Moonrise Kingdom”

A primary character in the Wes Anderson film, Moonrise Kingdom (2012), 12-year-old Sam (Jared Gilman) is the least popular boy in his Khaki Scout troop, and he’s an orphan.  Infatuated with the troubled Suzy (Kara Hayward), also 12, Sam makes plans to meet and run away with her after abandoning his troop.  This he does, after which there is a search party dispatched to find the two kids, who now claim to love each other.

The action in this whimsical work takes place in 1965, and at least one implication about the Sixties in America pops up.  It was, as James Bowman tells us, “a period in which it was common for children to pretend to be adults and adults to pretend to be children”—and so it is here.  The Sixties were also a period in which Charles Schulz’s Peanuts was going strong.  Anderson, who directed MK and co-wrote the script with Roman Coppola, admires Peanuts enough for his film to have been influenced by it.  For example, Suzy wears a dress which looks a lot like the one the Little Red-Haired Girl wears in the 1977 TV special, It’s Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown.

There is no surprise here.  Moonrise Kingdom is a comic-strip movie, PG-13 rated.   In essence it is about nothing but itself, with its fey foursquare visuals and Britten music.  It’s the straight-play counterpart to Moulin Rouge.   It’s entertaining.

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