Over the weekend, I went to see the new Wes Anderson movie, Moonrise Kingdom. It was delightful in every way–a study in styling and storytelling.
First, there’s the story itself. There’s nothing unusual about the plot, and I mean that as a compliment. The story is a straightforward one, of friendship and family. Of community and outsiders. Of innocence and coming-of-age. But, in its very simplicity, the story is extraordinary because of the way it is told.
Wes Anderson is a master of setting. Moonrise Kingdom takes place in the summer of 1965 on a fictional island called New Penzance. And, from the opening to the closing credits, every detail of every scene–from the children’s blue record player to the plaid lining of the summer camp tents to the font on signs and buildings–conveys a very specific sense of place. I want to go to New Penzance. I want to walk its paths and climb the stairs of the red house and curl up in the window seat and read a book, wearing blue eye shadow, like Suzie Bishop.
Even if the story sucked (which it very much did not), I would watch the film over and over again just because of its intrinsic beauty.
We’re all looking for a story that utterly draws us in. That we can’t stop thinking about and talking about. For me, now, it’s Moonrise Kingdom.