Anita Casey-Reed
 
 
    
 
From left, Kara Hayward, Jared Gilman and Jason Schwartzman are shown in a scene from Moonrise Kingdom. (Associated Press)
 
 

 
Jared Gilman as Sam in Moonrise Kingdom (Associated Press)
 
 

Film recommendations can be tricky things. Friends, family and the entire student body of Atlantic High School have learned that just because Anita likes something does not mean they will enjoy it with the same fervor (I still stand by "Hairspray," but it was not the right fit for the crowd at the 1990 Homecoming festivities). However, there are so many wonderful movies in the world -- that can transport a person through space and time or make them see the here-and-now from a completely different perspective -- that it only seems right to share when you find one you love.

"Moonrise Kingdom" (rated PG-13) is the latest film by Wes Anderson. If you've seen "Rushmore" or "The Royal Tenenbaums," you have an idea that "Moonrise Kingdom" will also contain some of Anderson's trademarks -- dysfunctional families, precocious children, a very stylized world and Bill Murray. The story revolves around two lonely 12-year-olds, Suzy and Sam, who over a year of penpal correspondence during the early 1960s decide to steal away from her uphappy parents (Frances McDormand and Bill Murray) and his uptight scout troop (led by Edward Norton) for an outdoor wilderness adventure on the island where Suzy resides. When the children are discovered to be missing, the local sheriff (Bruce Willis) begins a search that is complicated both by an approaching hurricane and by his relationship with Suzy's mother. Social Services (as all of the other characters refer to the character played by Tilda Swinton) enters the scene since this latest incident will be the last straw for Sam's current foster family, leaving no options but for the boy to be placed in an orphanage.

While the grownups squabble and search, the two runaways set up an idyllic nest at a cove they dub Moonrise Kingdom. They awkwardly dance to pop songs, read books aloud by the campfire and fall asleep in each other's arms. Reality soon comes crashing into their romantic fairy tale, with Suzy and Sam being separated "for their own good" until everyone is forced to take shelter at the local church before the onslaught of the storm.

Anderson's characters are all people who make mistakes but are each trying to find a connection with some other person in a lonely world. They screw up and hurt people who love them, but the grace of "Moonrise Kingdom" is how the film has a kind spot for all of them, adults and children alike. "Moonrise Kingdom" provides a quirky, gentle-hearted romance with a happy ending -- the perfect antidote for when the frenzy of the impending holiday season threatens to overwhelm you.



 
Anita Casey-Reed is a member of the Cinema 100 Film Society and a volunteer for the Dakota Digital Film Festival. She lives in Bismarck with her husband and two children.