Moonrise Kingdom: A Flickcharter’s Movie Review

Jandy Hardesty

Jandy is especially drawn to classic, off-beat, and foreign film, but loves a good blockbuster action sequence, too. You can find her on Flickchart as faithx5. She also writes at The Frame, and co-hosts the occasional podcast Not at Odds at Row Three.

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6 Responses

  1. I’m batting about .500 on Anderson’s filmography, but I can tell from glancing at your filtered list that we have different appreciations for his work. I really enjoy that you added that, by the way. By placing Moonrise Kingdom in the continuum of Anderson films that you’ve seen and ranked, even with only having seen half of them I feel I have a sense of what elements of his aesthetic work for you.

    Not that it matters, but my favorite remains The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, the (mostly) playful take on Moby Dick. Also, I rather liked Hotel Chevalier with the notable exception of disliking the volume of the soundtrack mix.
    I did not, however, particularly care for The Darjeeling Limited. I liked the premise, the chemistry of the three leads and it has some genuinely nice moments but too often I found it bogged down by scenes that smacked of such self-consciously auteur-ism(?) that they took me out of the movie entirely. My disappointment over that film has made me suspicious, I’m afraid.
    I’m interested to see Moonrise Kingdom, but my growing apprehension that Anderson’s storytelling has gone way down the rabbit hole does not feel assuaged by your “If you already like him, you’ll like this and if you don’t, you won’t” verdict. I need him to win me back over, not to keep plodding along.

    • Jandy says:

      I think I like Moonrise Kingdom even more now than when I wrote this a couple of weeks ago. I thought it would be a “enjoy it and forget it” kind of film, but it’s stuck with me in much deeper ways that I initially expected, leading me to suspect that the charges of slightness that I and others have leveled at it are rather superficial. I think there’s more going on here in terms of an exploration of childlikeness vs. childishness and maturity vs. being jaded.

      Hotel Chevalier shouldn’t be as low as it is. It’s suffering from being a short and also not coming up very often in my rankings. I didn’t want to artificially re-rank it just for this (because it shouldn’t just be right next to another Anderson film, either – unnatural clustering!), but it would probably be above The Life Aquatic, which is also probably a bit underranked. There were elements of it that didn’t work for me on a first watch, but I think I’d like it more on rewatch. It’s Jonathan’s favorite Anderson film, too, for whatever that’s worth, and in fact, I’d say Moonrise Kingdom is probably closer in tone to that one than any of the others.

      I’d say give Moonrise Kingdom a chance. It’s very Andersonian, but the addition of McDormand and Willis ground it a bit more than some of his other films, and I think he’s really perfected his style here in a way that doesn’t feel as self-conscious as he sometimes can. My caveat was mostly suggesting that if you are totally against the whole concept of Anderson’s quirk, this movie is probably not going to get you over that, because it’s very much still here.

  2. Nicholas Vargo says:

    Jandy, Moonrise Kingdom is my favorite film of the year so far, and I thought your review gave it such justice. To me, it’s his masterpiece, and the feeling of it is still lingering now. I so desperately want to go back and see it again just to take in its world one more time.

    • Jandy says:

      Thanks, Nicholas! It’s hovering very near the top of my 2012 list, too. I still like Tenenbaums the best of Anderson’s films, but I have to admit, Moonrise Kingdom is definitely up there.

  3. movieguyjon says:

    I agree 100% with your review here, although for me The Life Aquatic ranks much higher (but you already knew that). I hadn’t thought of it until you mentioned in the review, but both films do share a very similar tone. I almost want to go back and revisit this one. Shame that time isn’t on our side there.

    • Jandy says:

      I definitely need to rewatch The Life Aquatic at some point. And time isn’t on our side for doing anything, much less doing things twice. :p