I was really excited to see this movie, so I asked Dann if he'd go with me to see it this weekend.
I've been a fan of Wes Anderson since I saw The Royal Tenenbaums when it came out in 2001. I loved the way that movie was written because, at the time, I was in the middle of learning how to become a grown up. The film seemed to speak to the strangeness I felt about the fact that I didn't really know how to do it and that, maybe, no one else really did either.
Moonrise Kingdom stars two new actors, both of whom were 12 years old when the film was shot. I just finished a year of working with 12-year-olds every day; they are complicated, hilarious creatures.
In one of the earlier scenes in the movie, a group of young boys talk about searching for the missing member of their scout troop and the dialogue is spot on. I laughed loudly.
As the story progressed, though, I became increasingly uncomfortable with some shots of the 12-year-old girl. They're described well in the last two paragraphs of this review.
After watching the underwear-clad 12-year-old boy grope the underwear-clad 12-year-old girl's chest, Dann asked me how old the girl was. I didn't know, but I assumed she must be 18. She looked young, but in my mind it didn't seem possible that anyone could get away with portraying such sexually explicit content between actual 12-year-olds.
Dann pulled out his phone and googled her.
The girl is now 13.
We walked out of the theater and asked for our money back.
I was stunned and angry and sad.
I then spent far more time than I should have reading about how the movie was made. I wanted to know how Wes Anderson, as a grown up, had come to the conclusion that asking 12-year-olds to share their first kisses with each other (creepily, in their underwear) for the sake of his film was a good idea. I wanted to know how he was allowed to get away with it. I wanted to know if anyone involved with the film ever thought to say: "Hey, I'm a grown up and I don't really think this is a good idea."
Apparently, the majority of people who have seen the film had no problem with the content in question. After all, we were the only people to leave our theater and the manager told us we were the first all day to request a refund.
Most will claim that the film is Wes Anderson's artistic expression and that the sexual behavior between the kids fit perfectly into the story - that this is the sort of brilliance Wes Anderson is known for.
For me, there's no gray area here.
I'm a grown up.