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Characters elevate the Twainish and worthy Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom

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Despite a less than inspiring trailer and less than stellar theater debut, Moonrise Kingdom delivers a delightful tale of two adolescents who are striving to develop their own sense of identity while meandering through the mysteries of first love.

This artistic film written by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola and directed by Wes Anderson stars newcomers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, who both deliver outstanding, solid performances as Sam and Suzy. Also gracing the screen with their talents are Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Harvey Keitel and Bob Balaban as the Narrator.

In a welcome departure from his typical roles, Bruce Willis absolutely shines in his role as Captain Sharp, the man who would eventually cross paths with and influence young Sam.

The basic storyline is surprisingly similar to Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, in which an orphaned young boy sets out to discover life on his own at a very young age and along the way becomes enamored with a girl his same age.

Set in New England in the 1960s, Sam and Suzy create quite the stir within their community when they decide to run away on what would become a unique camping adventure that would eventually lead to a first kiss while dancing to Francoise Hardy’s Le temps de l’amour being played on Suzy’s portable record player.

The delightful charm of the film can be attributed to the well-developed quirky cast of characters and a subtle caricature of life almost a half-century removed, ala Cannery Row, which starred Nick Nolte and Debra Winger and debuted in 1982.