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Film: Moonrise Kingdom

Sam Shakusky: What kind of bird are you?
Girl in bird costume: I'm a sparrow, she's a dove...
Sam Shakusky: No. I said... [Points to Suzy] What kind of bird are YOU?
Suzy Bishop: I'm a raven.

Moonrise Kingdom is a 2012 twee tween comedy-drama film by Wes Anderson.

Set in a 1965 New England island town, the movie follows an innocent and quirky Puppy Love and Coming of Age story between Sam and Suzy, a pair of 12-year-old social outcasts who try to run away together.

Sam is an orphan who has gone through several foster homes, and is now on a trip with the Khaki Scouts. Suzy is living with an incredibly dysfunctional family, where the mom's a control freak and the dad is distant. They both decide to run away, and the film follows them as they hike across an island - with the police chief, the scoutmaster, Suzy's parents, and Sam's fellow Khaki Scouts all trying to find them. While the bulk of the movie is carried by the two leading child actor and actress, the movie has an All-Star Cast in the adult supporting roles with Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Frances Mc Dormand, and Tilda Swinton.

The film opened the 2012 Festival de Cannes. In a similar vein to The Darjeeling Limited, Wes Anderson also shot a four-minute short to complement the main movie, which can be seen here.


This film provides examples of:

  • All of the Other Reindeer: Everywhere Sam goes, he gets picked on for no particular reason. The Khaki Scouts of his troop do it because he's an orphan until they realize that this is a stupid reason (besides the head scout, who picks on him because he can). He's apparently been picked on at all of the various foster homes he's been sent to as well.
  • Aside Glance: After Suzy opens Sam's package, her eyes widen and she looks into the camera, then walks briskly away. At the end of the film, before exiting the frame, Suzy stops and stares at the camera again, then leaves.
  • Badass Bookworm: Sam is a skinny 12-year-old with glasses, but he's confident and bold, a skilled outdoorsman, and a scrappy fighter. A montage of his activities in the foster home show him doing situps in his bunk and delivering a Groin Attack to a larger bully.
  • Because I Said So: Captain Sharp: "I can't argue with anything you said, and I don't have to, because you're 12." He's actually a pretty decent fellow and a Reasonable Authority Figure.
  • Beta Couple:
    • Scoutmaster Ward and the telephone operator. She feeds him and volunteers to join his search party. At the end, he's got a picture of her beside his tape recorder.
    • Captain Sharp and Mrs. Bishop.
  • Book Ends: The film begins and ends with Suzy's brothers listening to the record player while she reads on the windowsill although the camera rotates to show Sam opposite them, painting.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • There are several segments where the local librarian addresses the audience, talking about the setting, time period and the legendary storm that is about to hit. He appears several other times in his regular capacity as a local resident, including sending up a weather balloon.
    • Suzy gives the camera an Aside Glance in the beginning and end of the film.
  • The Cameo: Harvey Keitel as the head of the Khaki Scouts.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Suzy's lefty scissors. In true Chekhov's Gun fashion, they are even seen hanging on the wall in the opening shot of the film.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Suzy's parents' legal background comes in handy at the climax.
  • Child Hater: Played with the Khaki Scout who marries Sam and Suzy. He belittles and curses at kids, all the while selling them supplies that should be free, but gladly marries Sam and Suzy, tells them they should take their vows seriously, and is willing to provide them shelter and jobs.
  • Childhood Marriage: Sam and Suzy, technically unofficially. They're married by an older Khaki Scout, who is quick to tell them that, no, this won't have any legal power, but the thought counts.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Sam and Suzy, given their social awkwardness and somewhat idealistic approach to life. Since this is a Wes Anderson movie the quirkiness of each adult character sometimes can also reach Cloud Cuckoolander territory.
  • Combat Pragmatist: When Sam is confronted again by the Khaki Scout who bullied him before, he punches him in the boy's stab wound from their previous scuffle.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Averted with Sam, but mentioned by Suzy. "They're always my favorite characters." Given her parents, not a surprise.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Sam sure knows how to plan a camping trip.
  • Cute Kitten: Suzy's pet cat.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: It's The Sixties, so a scoutmaster smoking around kids isn't considered unusual, though he should probably keep his cigs farther away from the fireworks. Sam also smokes a pipe, though this would have been unusual even back then.
  • Department of Child Disservices: Social Services is cold, intimidating, and the place she intends to send Sam (yet another overcrowded orphanage) is illustrated with a grim photograph - and he'll receive electroshock therapy to correct his behavior.
  • Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: Sam smokes one in a couple of scenes.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Suzy moans, grunts, and yelps when Sam is the first to penetrate her... earlobe, with a fishhook. Then they share their first kiss (and French kiss) and Suzy awkwardly let Sam touch her chest.
  • Domestic Abuse: It's implied that Suzy's mother beats her father. By the end of the film, he's sporting two black eyes.
  • Dysfunctional Family: The main reason why Suzy agreed to run away with Sam.
  • Dysfunction Junction: All the characters (especially the adults who play more than a bit part in the story) are really, really messed up and miserable.
  • Easter Egg: Going to another section of the dvd and then back to the main menu will change the picture on the main menu.
  • Everything Sounds Sexier in French: Suzy and Sam kiss for the first time after dancing to French singer Françoise Hardy's song, Le Temps de l'amour.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: "Social Services" might as well be her actual name. Hell, she's named in the opening credits as "Social Services."
  • Fan Disservice: Bill Murray appears shirtless in a scene holding an axe.
  • Fictional Document: The books Suzy stole from the library for their trip, and are read throughout the movie, are fake; one artist created each cover, and Wes Anderson himself wrote the passages Suzy reads aloud.
  • For the Evulz: The Khaki Scout squad leader tells Sam to his face that he hates him for no reason, and that's a good reason as any.
  • French New Wave: This movie can be considered Wes Anderson's homage to the movement. In a shoutout, Sam and Suzy listen to French songs after their runaway.
  • Giant Wall of Watery Doom: Washes away the sign for the annual performance of Benjamin Britten's Noyes Fludde, and traps the Eagle Scout commander AND manages to set fire to his tent. (It Makes Sense in Context)
  • Greaser Delinquents: The other kids at the foster home, who bully Sam.
  • Groin Attack: When a larger bully at the foster home makes aggressive advances on Sam, he punches the kid in the crotch and runs for it.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Suzy admits that she tends to "go berserk".
  • Heel-Face Turn: The Khaki Scouts of Troop 55 have a Heel Realization that they've been abusing Sam just for being different, and resolve to atone for it. The ringleader doesn't turn, but he's an asshole.
  • Heel Realization: The Khaki Scouts undergo this after one of them asks how would they react if they were orphans, and generally feeling sorry for Sam getting separated from Suzy.
  • Ice Queen: Tilda Swinton's character, Social Services.
  • Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: Scout Master Ward has his patch torn off by the Eagle Scout commander after managing to lose his entire troop. He earns it back after saving the Scout commander from a simultaneous flood and fire, and directing the Scout coalition to safety.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When Suzy is reading a book to Sam at Mile 3.25 Tidal Inlet, the scene cuts after she says "Part 2." This is at roughly the halfway point and the following scene marks a major shift in the plot. In essence she acted as a Title Card.
  • Meaningful Name: Scoutmaster Ward. "Ward" means to protect or watch over.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The confrontation between the scouts and the runaways. It's apparently an epic fight, that results in the motorcycle up a tree, one of the Scouts shot in both arms, Suzy stabbing the scout leader with her scissors and Snoopy accidentally getting run through by an arrow.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Lazy-Eye, and some of the other Khaki Scouts.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Played for laughs when Scoutmaster Ward saves Commander Pierce from the explosion.
  • Panty Shot: Suzy gets one when she climbs into the tent because Sam upsets her for laughing at her showing him the book "Dealing With A Troubled Child". Was that shot necessary, Wes?
  • Parental Bonus: Downplayed. To younger audience members, the 76$ would seem like a fair amount of money but nothing crazy, older audience members will be able to account more for inflation (since this is 1965) and know that the $76 is actually worth a LOT more... as in $562 of 2014 currency!
  • Production Posse: Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman have supporting roles. Roman Coppola gets co-writing credit. This was the first posse appearance for Harvey Keitel and Edward Norton, but both would appear in Anderson's next film, The Grand Budapest Hotel.
  • Puppy Love: Suzy and Sam for the entire movie.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: When Sam first meets Suzy, her hand is bandaged from punching the mirror in her bathroom. When Sam asks her about it, she matter-of-factly states that she was disgusted with herself.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The Scoutmaster (only after Sam runs away, though) and the Police Officer. For Wes Anderson films, they're quite reasonable.
  • Rule of Funny: Sam escapes by cutting a hole in his tent and covering it with a map on the inside. This is a send-up of classic prison-break films. In this case, of course, the hole would be easily spotted outside of the tent. The map would hide the hole only from Sam himself. This might be justified by the Scoutmaster simply being that oblivious.
  • Scout Out: The Khaki Scouts, of course.
  • Serious Business: The Khaki Scouts run their ships military. The whole movie has an undercurrent of Comically Serious, actually, so you're bound to find more examples than this.
  • The Sixties
  • Shock and Awe: During the final chase, Sam leads the rest of the Eagle Scouts on a massive chase around a field, during a hurricane. He gets up on a rocky outcrop, ready to face down the horde... and is struck by lightning. He's fine, except being covered in soot and having his shoes set on fire.
  • Shout-Out: An obvious reference to The Shawshank Redemption when Sam escapes his tent at the start of the film (using an incredibly thin paper material to cover up a hole in a wall), and a more subtle visual allusion to the original Star Wars during the climax, when Sam and Suzy sidle around the church tower.
  • Signature Style: The film is dripping with Andersonisms. The costumes, the soundtrack, the tracking shots, etc.
  • Sleeping Single: Walt and Laura sleep in single beds separated by a nightstand.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Melody (S.W.A.L.K.) according to the writer/director himself.
  • Suicide Pact/Together in Death: Invoked and discussed during the climax. When Sam and Suzy attempt one last desperate escape, they're on top of the church tower and will be leaping into shallow water... with the remains of the fence jutting sharply upwards. They decide to jump, anyway, and Sam says that just in case this turns out to be suicide, he loves Suzy.
  • A Storm Is Coming: The "narrator" even tells us exactly when and the strength of the historic storm.
  • Take My Hand: The end of the film, with the Officer holding on to both Sam and Suzy from the ruined church steeple. "Hold on."
  • Their First Time: Technically. Sam and Suzy share a kiss, then a French kiss, then Suzy awkwardly notices Sam has an erection and lets him feel her up.
  • Third-Person Person: Social Services, a woman representing... Social Services, never using her real name.
  • Title Drop: In Sam's painting at the end.
  • Travel Montage: The montage tracks Sam and Suzy's trek across the island to their secret cove.
  • Uncanny Valley: In-universe: Suzy's dummy left behind by Sam and the rest of the Khaki scouts causes her brother to scream and alert her parents to her second runaway attempt.
  • The Unfavourite:
    • Suzy thinks she is this after she finds a book about dealing with problem children in her family home.
    • All of Sam's previous foster parents got rid of him and labeled him as a problem child, even though it's clear that it's all the other kids who had the problem. His most recent family apathetically gives him up via a curt letter, and when called to pick up Sam after his escape, they simply can't be arsed.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Throughout. "I need chicken wire, shredded newspaper and a bucket of wheatpaste." You don't find out what it is for awhile, and you think 'It's going to be more Noodle Implements, isn't it?' But eventually, this trope is subverted when that plan fails as soon as one of the Khaki Scouts describes it.

Les Miserables (2012)Films of the 2010sMoron Five And The Crying Lady

alternative title(s): Moonrise Kingdom
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