97 Minutes in Heaven

I love short films. I don’t mean the genre of short films (though there’s little better than a good five-minute picture), but feature-length films that are not that long. It takes more talent to make a tightly woven 90-minute film than a bloated three-hour epic. Which is only one of the many, many reasons I love Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom,” out Friday.

There’s a lot to love about the film, assuming you enjoy Anderson’s signature style. (If you hated “Rushmore” and “The Royal Tenenbaums,” this is not the film for you. Also, we cannot be friends.)

In 97 minutes — and that’s if you stay through the credits — Anderson tells a whip-smart tale about the first blush of adolescent love. There’s no waste anywhere in the film, and that reflects how we all felt when we first got those butterflies that come to dominate our lives. When you’re 12, everything that happens is desperately important, from what shoes you wear to how you carry your lunch to school. Everything depends on everything, which is exactly how it is in “Moonrise Kingdom.”

Each moment in the film is so laden with importance that it’s almost crushing; with no time to spare, Anderson has created a world in which one glance can be an experience unto itself. And first love is the most important thing in the world. Just like everything else.

Kristen Page-Kirby covers film for The Washington Post Express.
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