I know, I know, all the stereotypes about Wes Anderson films and the people who like them. He’s kind of twee and self-indulgent and his nostalgia may be borderline pathological.
I’m not here to argue with that. Just to say that I don’t really care when it comes to Moonrise Kingdom.
So here we are, seven reasons I love this film, beginning with my thesis about influence.
1. It’s basically Peter Pan and Wendy on Rhode Island.
Exhibit A: Peter = orphan. Sam = orphan. Both convince girls to run away with them.
Exhibit B: Wendy, older sister of two small brothers. Suzy, older sister of 3 small brothers.
Exhibit C: The Khaki Scouts = The Lost Boys. They run away from their leader to help Sam, and the scene where Suzy is reading to Sam and the Scouts while Sam smokes a corn cob pipe is nearly IDENTICAL to the scene in Peter Pan where Wendy tells stories to the lost boys while Peter Pan SMOKES A PIPE.
Exhibit D: Mr. Darling and Mrs. Darling have some definite emotional distance going on, with Mr. Darling always feeling like his wife is holding something back. Suzy’s parents are also having problems, as evidenced by Mrs. Bishop’s affair with Captain Sharp.
Exhibit E: Moonrise Kingdom, aka the secret magical cove accessible only by boat, reminds me a lot of Neverland, aka a magical island accessible only by flight. Admittedly, boats are easier to access than pixie dust. Still. The idea of a remote paradise remains.
Verdict: Someone in film studies write a paper on this.
The use of Hank Williams’ kinda offensive but still great song for the runaway and pursuit sequence. Because who doesn’t love Hank Williams songs about inanimate love (I’m sure you’re out there, but I don’t want to know).
3. “He’s kind of dumb and sad.”
Bruce Willis as sad Captain Sharp. Sad Captain Sharp adopting Sam. It’s like John McClane’s sad father. Plot twist: Sam grows up to be John McClane.
5. Suzy’s suitcase full of books. That is exactly how I packed for trips when I was twelve. “Usually I prefer a girl hero, but not always.”
6. The dancing-on-the beach scene. Hilarious, innocent, and sweet but not sugary. “I love you, but you don’t know what you’re talking about.” Real talk from Sam.
7. Suzy: “We’re in love. We just wanna be together. What’s wrong with that?”
What indeed, Suzy.