Moonrise Kingdom (2012) Directed by Wes Anderson

I have become the kind of adult who belittles the life experience and understanding of children and teenagers. I always promised myself that would never happen... It's so easy to forget that children's feelings and their lives are just as meaningful, complex and emotional as mine – if not more so. Everything is still vivid and new then (even when the know-it-all teenager tries to convince me otherwise). Someone said somewhere once that at 17 human beings are their smartest and most capable. Maybe so, but we don't like to admit stuff like that, not us liberated adults who think we are forever young and full of potential. (BTW: I have also become so old that no one asks me for ID when I buy two beers on a Friday evening, not even though the law recently changed and they have to ask for ID from everyone under 30!)

Moonrise Kingdom is very romantic. At the heart of this romance are two lovers who barely have made it to their second decade of life. They are the re-imagined Bonnie and Clyde, or maybe more like Anna Karina and Jean-Paul Belmondo in Pierrot Le Fout.

moonrise kingdom 2012

pierrot le fou 1965

Moonrise Kingdom, like all Wes Anderson works, deals with childhood alienation, the difficulty between adults and children, the absence of parents, or their imperfection if they are there. The film discusses the fragility of what could loosely be called family. But the perspective is forever emphatic to children, even when it presents them as totally capable of both deliberate cruelty and passionate love.
I am dying to rewatch this with a real-life 11-year-old and see how it goes down. This was truly a nourishing and inspiring movie.

Nick :
We finished watching Moonrise Kingdom the day of Thatchers' death. I can't even bring myself to mention her first name. Some of my Finnish friends and acquaintances can't quite understand why people are giving it so much attention. One could point to the rampant greed and entrepreneurial zeal that has gripped so many in Finnish society. The privatisation, the need to 'deal' with the 'immigration problem'. The severe swing to the right, the 'I'm all right Jack - fuck you' mentality so prelevant among the YOOF. I could go on. It's called Thatcherism and Finland in 2013 is drowning in it, having it large. Let's add sexism, racism, homophobia and get the fuck out of dodge.

It's the levels of modern living and a lack of tolerance where there is only one opinion that is valid, the one with a capital C: conservatives thrive. The bastard offspring of Thatcher, promising you a better life while dismantling your health service (hello Blair, Cameron), waging wars on lies (how Maggie would be proud), her influence is everywhere and Meryl Streep can fuck off too. That was my youth and I want it back. RANT OVER.

Wes Anderson rules and Moonrise Kingdom is another one of his splendid pictures of the ruling middle classes, stylistically shot. The period detail is exquisite and the soundtrack featuring that modern beat combo Benjamin Britten is of the highest order. Anderson remarkably hires the wonderful ACTION MAN Bruce Willis amongst his plentiful cast and convinces him to keep his shirt on. I love Bruce. In Wes's world we're all still 10 years old and in love and doing something for someone has virtue because we're not all cynical. I wish I lived there everyday and Francoise Hardy soundtracked my dreams.


  1. About a week before you posted this, Deb and I were at Weybridge Registry Office doing the legal part of our marriage (we're having a celebration part in July...the illegal bit as I'm beginning to think of it). Anyway, I mention this because, for one of our three musical choices, we had Benjamin Britten's Cuckoo because of our love for Moonrise Kingdom. Glad to see that it struck a similar chord with the both of you.

    (And just in case you wondered, the other two pieces were Angels and Angles by the Decemberists and O mio babbino caro.)

  2. Big Congratulations!
    Hope you had a great day and have a great one in July


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