A precious look at the foibles of youth

Moonrise Kingdom Focus Rating: PG 94 minutes

Moonrise Kingdom is whimsical, charming and amusing and features deadpan performances by an amazing group of A-list actors. But like many of director Wes Anderson’s movies (The Darjeeling Limited, The Royal Tenenbaums) you either buy in or not and this reviewer, a bit sadly, does not.

The movie, presumably meant as a fantasy and set in 1965, concerns two 12-year-olds (newcomers Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman). They are young lovers of a kind, who run off together on a sparsely inhabited island off New England. Bruce Willis is the local police chief, Frances McDormand and Bill Murray play Hayward’s parents and Edward Norton is the scoutmaster of the troop Gilman deserts. They are the buffoonish adults looking for the runaways. Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Bob Balaban, even Harvey Keitel appear in minor roles.

The starpower is interesting, but the movie is really about the two young lovers, who want to be married. Both are individuals and outsiders. He is an orphan and unliked by the rest of the scout troop. She is mature beyond her years, living with odd parents and can’t wait to leave home. While they are attractive and even appealing sometimes, there’s not enough substance there to make the story work.

While it can be taken as an almost entertaining look at the foibles of youth or even as dread of approaching adulthood, Moonrise Kingdom is just too precious and self-aware to work.

Rating: two deer out of five

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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.