Reviewed by: Andrea McAteer
CONTRIBUTOR—first time reviewer
running away from home / runaways
two twelve-year-olds who fall in love
sexual experimentation by teens
being an orphan
living with foster parents, when real parents are dead
life on an island
searching for a lost person
being struck by lightning
|Featuring:||Edward Norton … Scout Master Ward
Bruce Willis … Captain Sharp
Bill Murray … Walt Bishop
Tilda Swinton … Social Services
Harvey Keitel … Commander Pierce
Frances McDormand … Laura Bishop
Jason Schwartzman … Cousin Ben
Kara Hayward … Suzy
Jared Gilman … Sam
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|Director:||Wes Anderson—“The Royal Tenenbaums,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “Rushmore”|
American Empirical Pictures
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When I considered watching “Moonrise Kingdom,” I thought it looked funny and quirky. Instead, I found it dull and the characters hard to empathize with.
In the movie, young Sam and Suzy meet at a play, become pen pals and plan to meet and run away. Both, as we find out, are troubled youth. Sam is an orphan and on the island with the Khaki Scouts. We find out that his foster family does not want him back. All we are shown for his troubled behavior are a few flashbacks to the foster home where he fights with some of the other boys. Similarly, we see some school shots of Suzy, where she yells at a classmate and gets into fights. Suzy’s parents are withdrawn from the family, and we find out that her mom is having an affair with the sheriff. Suzy and Sam are kindred spirits and fall in love, and the movie showcases events as they run off, camp out and fleeing from searching parents, social services, police and the scouts.
In keeping with Wes Anderson’s style, the film has a deadpan, emotionless feel to it, which, given the right actors, can be funny. However, something was missing with this one. Unlike “The Royal Tenenbaums,” the quirky, serious acting is a bore. Newcomer Kara Hayward, who plays Suzy, does quite well with the emotionless expression, but Jared Gilman’s Sam is lacking.
One actor who I feel does very well, in spite of short screen time, is Jason Schwartzman, who plays Cousin Ben, an older scout leader who helps Sam and Suzy run off and actually marries them, although he says it is not binding since they are underage.
Objectionable Content: A letter is read where Sam says he paints nude watercolors, and Suzy wonders if one is supposed to be her. Sam and Suzy are shown in their undergarments a number of times. Suzy’s underwear is seen as she crawls into a tent, after a jump in the lake; we see Sam in a T-shirt and underwear. Suzy is in a bra and panties. They fall asleep together in their undergarments and wake up to find Suzy’s parents, the Scout master and others on the beach after searching for them. In one scene, they are dancing in underwear on the beach, and they decide to kiss. They talk about French kissing and give it a try, although no tongue is seen. Then Suzy’s comments that “it is hard,” and Sam says “do you mind,” and she responds “no.” Suzy tells Sam he can touch her chest, and he puts his hand over her breast. Later, other scouts talk about Sam and Suzy getting to “3rd base.”
Suzy’s mother is having an affair with the sheriff. All we see is the mother riding her bike to meet him, sharing his cigarette and holding hands for a brief moment. Her mother ends the affair, after Suzy says she knows about it. The sheriff offers young Sam some beer, when he drinks it, he pours him more. A scout is stabbed in the back with scissors, and we see blood on his hand and later his shirt wet with blood. Sam later punches the boy in the wound. A dog is shown with an arrow in him, dead and bloody. The scouts carry weapons, some hand made, when they look for Sam. A few characters are shown with wine and a number of the adults smoke. A child is struck by lightning, and, later, 3 people are struck by lightning and shown in silhouette hanging. All live. Sam climbs out of a window in Suzy’s home, and the sheriff is there waiting to drive him away.
Bad Language: God d—n (2), hell (2), Holy Christ (1), Oh my god (1), D-mn us (1), I’ll be d-mned (1), bast—ds (1), son of a b-tch (1), d-mmit (1).
Positive Elements: When the Scout Master finds out Sam is an orphan, he has a nice heartfelt conversation, albeit one-sided, with Sam. He says he is sorry about his family, and then says his campsite was the best he had ever seen. I liked how an adult built up the boy’s confidence by complimenting his scouting skills. The sheriff finds he wishes to take Sam in and care for him, and Sam finally ends up in a home.
This film touches on infidelity, young children starting to explore their sexuality, teen angst and rebellion. As Christians, we need to work on our marriages to keep them intact and teach our children to maintain their purity until marriage, which is ever more difficult in our world. 1 Corinthians 6:18 tells us to flee from sexual impurity. Perhaps this can be viewed as a coming of age film, but in the world we live in, where morality is often shunned, to explore kissing is one thing, to do so in your underwear and encouraging a boy to feel your chest is not proper for 12 year olds. Unfortunately, youth are exploring their sexuality in far worse ways today. For today’s portrayals of infidelity, young love and fighting/violence in film, it is considered mild.
Violence: Mild / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.