Outsider Looking In

Andrew Sullivan —  Jun 15 2012 @ 8:37pm

Katrina Richardson critiques Wes Anderson's latest offering, Moonrise Kingdom:

Around the same time The Royal Tenenbaums came out and everyone fell in love. I was furious. It was so easy for Anderson and his characters. They could exteriorize their outsiderness in simple ways, with dollhouse-like sets, rebelliously simplified camera movements, or oversized fur coats and orange winter hats. The world would worship him and them as a new cool heroes of non-conformity. Yes, Anderson was mildly anti-authority in a way that would have excited me at 13, but he was encouraging a simplistic and precious way of thinking that reinforced what 17 year old me was beginning to fight against.

When your identity is built on the exteriorization of various feelings of outsiderness, it immediately gives you a sense of control in manipulating how the world interacts with you. So satisfying are these instances, that your visible exterior becomes a uniform that limits the desire to understand interior complexities and perhaps disrupt the new easy solution you’ve found. This perhaps is the comfortable place Anderson has found himself.

Austin Allen rebuts more general critiques:

One way to gauge Anderson’s achievement is to set him beside another celebrated auteur with the same initials. Critics who find Anderson’s work immature and Woody Allen’s sophisticated have things backward. (There are exceptions to this rule, but not many.) Anderson’s films are outwardly childlike but conceal mature emotional insight. Allen’s films play at urbane adulthood but are at heart sophomoric.

Chris Orr, for his part, calls Moonrise Kingdom "his best since Rushmore."