Moonrise Kingdom

2012-5-28

In his latest film, Wes Anderson combines all his favourite elements into a pleasing fugue.

I once took a beautiful girl to see a Wes Anderson film, The Life The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. It seemed like a brilliant idea as her favourite film was Bottle Rocket, mine was Rushmore. It was also during a time in my life when I was almost a hipster. Of course, the first rule about hipsters is that they strenuously deny being hipsters, but consider: I lived in Williamsburg, I played in a band, I was worried by some strange growths on my cock, and I was into Wes Anderson films. The problem - if I may call it a problem - was that while all these amazing things were occurring, they never were never really working together in concert.

Anderson understands this problem. At the start of Moonrise Kingdom, he explicitly compares himself to an orchestral conductor. He's playing an old tune. He can re-arrange the elements in different ways, but for the greatest effect, everything has to be firing at once. This is what happens in his best films: The Royal Tenenbaums, Rushmore, and now Moonrise Kingdom. His other films have the same elements (bizarre parenting, Bill Murray) but for some reason they don't come together in quite the right way: The Darjeeling Limited, and The Life Aquatic.

Well before Anderson or I realised the importance of this kind of synchrony, it was too late. I left Williamsburg, I got kicked out of the band, and I didn't get HPV. I also stopped caring about Wes Anderson films.

Now, a few years later I realise that I won't ever be as close to being cool as I was then. As Max says in Rushmore: Sic transit gloria. Glory fades.

I take my beautiful wife to see Moonrise Kingdom. She can't understand what the characters are saying. Their banter is too stylised, too rooted in the peculiarities of a particular North American moment. I wonder how different my life might be if instead of The Life Aquatic, I had been able to take that girl to see Moonrise Kingdom.

Moonrise Kingdom is still playing in select cinemas.


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