Resourceful orphan Sam (Jared Gilman) is the least popular member of his Khaki Scout troop, run by Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton). He elopes with pen pal Suzy (Kara Hayward), who shares her lighthouse home with parents Walt (Bill Murray) and Laura (Frances McDormand) and three brothers. Sam is well-prepared for the expedition with a tent and pen-knife but Suzy chooses to pack her books and a battery-powered record player. As the youngsters head for the beach, Walt and Laura implore local cop Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis) to find their daughter. Ward and his troop join the hunt, determined to find Sam before Social Services (Tilda Swinton) lands on the island to take the boy into care.
Since his quirky 1996 debut Bottle Rocket starring university roommate Owen Wilson, writer-director Wes Anderson has ploughed his own creative furrow in an industry that prizes box office takings over originality.
Oscar nominations for his script to The Royal Tenenbaums and his direction of the stop-motion animation Fantastic Mr Fox are as close as Anderson has come to a warm welcome to Hollywood’s inner sanctum.
This latest feature reunites the auteur with many frequent collaborators to craft a tender love story in his trademark world of heightened artificiality.