Moonrise Kingdom opens with a peek at the humming activity contained inside the dollhouse-adorable Bishop household. A cheery red clapboard house that director Wes Anderson shows in long shot, the dwelling perfectly aligns with a needlepoint sampler seen on its interior wall. It’s home to three small boys, an artistic and doleful preteen Suzy (an adorable Kara Hayward), and a set of lawyer parents — Laura (Frances McDormand) and Walt (Bill Murray), a couple of brainy sad sacks cocooned in their own unhappiness and quilt-shrouded single beds. The Bishops’ stomping ground is the remote New England island of New Penzance, accessible only by sea plane and ferry. Across the island lives an equally unhappy 12-year-old boy, Sam (Jared Gilman), who is also Suzy’s soulmate. Sam has escaped from the Khaki Scout camp through a hole cut in his pup tent, much to the horror of Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton), the stuntedly boyish, deeply earnest troop leader depressed by his AWOL scout. Sam’s plan is to rendezvous with Suzy, a dreamy, blue eyeshadow-wearing lass with one foot in childhood and the other in precocious womanhood. There is something undeniably heartfelt in Anderson’s yarn about two misfit kids, the artistic Suzy and the orphaned Sam, who find acceptance and love in each other’s arms. Anderson can sometimes become so enamored with style and nostalgic generational references that his stories get swamped by Kate Spade ambiance. But in Moonrise Kingdom Anderson’s retro style works perfectly with an air of earnestness and melancholy that seems a remnant of a lost age.
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