5 stars out of 5
There are lots of things you can say about most Wes Anderson films. They tend to feature Bill Murray and/or Jason Schwartzman. They are incredibly fussy and art-directed to within an inch of their life. They feature eccentric people on the fringes of life. They are, as a rule, hugely entertaining, although not always. This time out, Schwartzman has a cameo and Murray has what amounts to an extended cameo. Minor characters are played by Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bob Balaban, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand and Harvey Keitel. What kind of film could squander this kind of world-class talent on tiny roles? A film that features first-timers Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman being absolutely brilliant as the 12-year-olds at the center of the story. They think they are in love; in fact, they are quite sure of it. Is any love as pure and certain as first love? Anderson clearly thinks not, and allows us to observe them as the run away, are found, and run away again on a fictional island. There is not a single mis-step in this film, not a single bad performance, not a single stupid moment in the script, and a great deal of laughter that comes from character of visual fun, rather than fart jokes. A film by grownups, for grownups, featuring kids. It is brilliant, will stand up to multiple viewings, says something about the human condition and, if there is any justice in this world, will be up for an Oscar. And that, my friends, is what (usually) defines a five-star movie for me.