Set on an island off the coast of New England in the 1960s, as a young boy and girl fall in love they are moved to run away together. Various factions of the town mobilize to search for them and the town is turned upside down -- which might not be such a bad thing.
Let me start by admitting that I'm a Wes Anderson fan. I'll stop short of saying that he can do no wrong, but he hasn't done wrong yet.
Moonrise Kingdom comes close.
Let's agree that Anderson is a genre unto itself and as soon as you see the poster or the trailer or the TV commercial (have their even been any TV commercials?) you probably know if you'll be going to see this movie.
Follow that instict.
This is Wes Anderson's most Wes Anderson-y movie yet. If you find his work overly precious, this is certainly in that category.
Too conspicuous? Talking about zooms and dolly shots here, folks. This has 'em in spades. I think the first 10 minutes is all done on track going left, right, in, out. It was like they had that elevator from Willy Wonka and strapped a camera to it. Measured dialogue? check! Universally detached characters? check!
And perhaps, the fact that I was really aware of the checklist should be a clue that this was a lesser offering. Maybe it was, I still enjoyed it thouroughly. I appreciate the entire package of a Wes Anderson film.
Bill Murray's role is a smaller character, less compelling than usual and most of Anderson's stock company do not appear. Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand and Jason Schwartzman (yes, I looked it up) deliver nuanced but underwhelming performances. Tilda Swinton and Harvey Keitel have glorified cameos that only served to draw attention to how little reason there was to have those characters in the film at all, but hey, I'm Wes Anderson and I can just call these people and ask them to come to Rhode Island for a week of Arnold Palmers and those little sandwiches where they cut off the crusts. Bob Balaban is wonderful as the Narrator, and I think the film might've been better with more of him and zero of Tilda and Harvey. The two young actors, Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, deliver strong performances and are, by far, the main characters of the film. However I think that "consistently earnest 12-year-old" will be mistaken for breakout performance. The gag wore thin quickly.
Clearly, not a glowing review, but now for the twist, I liked it.
Not that it all works, or that it rises above the sum of the parts. It doesn't and it doesn't.
Like I said, I'm a fan. If you aren't a fan, or not anymore, this will do nothing to change your mind.
"People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like."
Wes Anderson, Roman Copolla