By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

Wes Anderson certainly has a definitive style of filmmaking and storytelling.  He often presents his stories and characters as if they are seen through the eyes of a child and counters this presentation by addressing real adult issues and problems. Anderson also has a skill and talent for dry and deadpan humor which usually keeps his films from becoming too depressing, despite the subject matter. His latest film focuses on a pair of children who, despite their young ages, already have some issues because of parents, or the lack thereof.  Like most children, these kids, in their minds, have grown up and are prepared for the responsibilities of adulthood. Because of their problems at home, Suzy (Kara Hayward) and Sam (Jared Gilman) decide to run away together. 

Sam, an orphan who has yet to find a stable home and parents, escapes his Khaki Scout camp to run away with his girlfriend Suzy, who has parents, but obviously is not happy with them.  When Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton) discovers that Sam has disappeared, he calls the authorities.  Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis), Ward, Suzy’s parents (Bill Murray, Frances McDormand), and the Khaki Scout troop begin their search for the runaways.  A major storm threatens to wipe out the New England coast and the search party must frantically find Suzy and Sam and take shelter.

 Here, Anderson collaborates with Roman Coppola who co-wrote the script.  Once again, Anderson displays his unique talent and flair for storytelling.  It is only fitting that a writer/director who employs child-like sensibilities make a movie whose main characters are children.  I found myself constantly smiling and laughing throughout most of the film.  I really enjoyed the story, characters, and humor; however, the movie feels somewhat incomplete.  Certain situations and issues get glossed over and not really resolved. This makes me wonder if certain scenes that were cut from the movie should have remained.  Regardless, of this problem I have with the finished product, Anderson fans should really enjoy this latest entry.  For those who don’t really enjoy his style, this may be one to skip.

 As usual, Anderson assembles a tremendous cast which doesn’t disappoint at all.  Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, and Frances McDormand all perform admirably in their roles, but the real superstars in this movie are the two lead children.  Kara Hayward and Jared Gillman show some genuine talent and seem to comfortably grasp Anderson’s signature style, therefore, fitting in perfectly within his “world”. 

 As I stated above, people who don’t like Wes Anderson’s style probably won’t enjoy his latest movie. Anderson fans will absolutely adore it as I do.  I think fans should definitely pay for full priced tickets to see this film.  For those uncertain or unfamiliar with the director, I highly recommend watching the movies Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums first to get a better feel on what to expect. The movie is rated PG-13, so even though the story focuses on children, it does present some awkward sexual content, that parents may not wish their children to view. So proceed with caution.

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