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Doug Hughes on Wes Anderson’s ‘Moonrise Kingdom’

Eye on the Oscars: The Director Preview

I’d be very surprised if any movie released in 2012 offered its audience an experience as transporting, encouraging or as just plain beautiful as “Moonrise Kingdom.”

I’ve noticed that those with a penchant for condescending classification tend to file Wes Anderson under the convenient heading of “stylist.” Is this his reward for making certain that every shot is so singularly and memorably composed that it burns its way into the dream life of the beholder? “Moonrise Kingdom” is the work of someone who takes joy in paying strict attention to this strange life. And he makes that joy contagious.

The movie is about first love and thwarted love and lost love. It’s about the impossible task of being someone’s child and the impossible task of being someone’s parent. And this genuinely mythic tale plays itself out against a gorgeous and frightening natural landscape. The superb screenplay is richly emotional but never sentimental. The picture is cast with big stars and utterly unknown adolescents who all work impeccably and form a flawlessly honest ensemble. When Hank Williams and Benjamin Britten co-exist in perfect harmony on a movie soundtrack, something special must be going on. “Moonrise Kingdom” is very, very special.

— Doug Hughes, a Tony winner for “Doubt,” helms this season’s Broadway revivals of “An Enemy of the People” and “The Big Knife,” to open in April.

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