Where did this movie come from? It's been said a lot recently that the film industry isn't coming up with many original ideas anymore. Well, Wes Anderson is doing his best address that problem. Out of the blue, a wildly original, beautiful, whimsical, heart-warming story. It's the depth and detail of his imagination that most amazes me. I feel as if he actually took his camera back to the 60's and actually visited an island off the coast of New England. No false notes, though obviously, this is Wes Anderson after all, he's happy utilizing fantastical elements. But they mesh, somehow, with the time and place, and don't pull one out of the film. The story works wonderfully because of the quality of the cast, the idiosyncratic characterizations (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand as bizarrely and unhappily married lawyers - where did that come from?), Alexander Desplat and Benjamin Britten's beautiful score, and the extraordinary production design. Sui generis.
Two notes on the cast: I have to say that one of the reasons that this is one of my favorite WA films is the absence of Owen Wilson. I've never appreciated his on-screen persona. And regarding the sexual content - I find it no issue at all because WA wisely played the boy as an "innocent". Suzie is more sexually awakened (as demonstrated by the eye shadow) than is Sam. He's still very much a kid (as demonstrated by the coonskin hat and corncob pipe). That makes the beach and tent scenes no more sexual than two toddlers looking at each other after getting out of the bath. Imagine if, instead of Sam, one of the other khaki scouts had been in Sam's place. That wouldn't have had the same charm at all. It worked because Sam was played as a kid, not an awakening adolescent.