Moonrise Kingdom (2012)


Genre: Romance, Comedy, Drama

Cast: Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand

Genre: Two misfit 12-year olds run away together, prompting a troop of boy scouts to hunt them down.

I must admit that I’m relatively new to the world of Wes Anderson. I had never seen one of his movies the whole way through and I thought it was high-time (lol) I changed that. I wanted something uplifting, whimsical and colourful so I decided to watch Moonrise Kingdom expecting it to tick all those boxes. Tick those boxes it did but it also ticked another one I was not expecting it to.

I was not expecting this film to be quite so mature in subject matter. If you were to watch the trailer, you may think that Moonrise Kingdom was a cutesy comedy with little to no substance. While it certainly is cute, the movie deals with tough issues such as problematic children, distant parents, unhappy marriages, and the horror of child/social services. While the movie certainly is not as bleak as Precious, it has a surprising depth and the film’s diverse cast manage to navigate the film’s more dramatic aspects as well as the light-hearted moments. Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Jason Schwartzman all add depth to the film and portray characters that are touchingly human. Edward Norton is particularly adorable in this film.

However, I think that it is film’s younger cast members that give the movie its heart and soul. Newcomers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, who play the film’s main characters, do a particularly admirable job. Naïve, romantic, and painfully awkward in a really sweet and childish way, both Gilman and Hayward display their acting chops and manage to go toe-to-toe with the film’s bigger stars.

Although the film presents some very adult and serious themes, it’s a great movie to watch when you’re high because everything in it is so colourful and lush and toy-like. I think the bright and vivid scenery and objects are intended to reflect the main characters’ optimism and child-like simplicity. Although aware of all the horrible things that are going on around them, the children manage to escape into their own world where they can do and be anything they want to be. It’s the film’s final shot though which stands out. Very little is said but we’re able to see that the two main characters retain that child-like wonder but have become more mature in the process, as shown in the complexity and beauty of Gilman’s painting, the haunting sounds of a boys’ choir and Hayward’s moment of quiet self-reflection. It was the perfect end to such a sweet film.



  • God damn it I want to dress like the people in this movie and own a house like that. It’s kind of awesome in a kitschy 60s-70s way.
  • Wonderfully awkward dance scene.
  • Beautiful scenery, especially the Old Chick Chaw beach. I want to go there.
  • A heart-warming ending and a lovely closing shot.


  • Poor dog….
  • Watching ears getting pierced grosses me out.
  • I wasted a lot of time afterwards thinking about how I could recreate the characters’ wardrobes.


Moonrise Kingdom is a great introduction to the film catalogue of Wes Anderson. It’s not too heavy and it doesn’t try to be too clever. Instead, it presents a realistic drama but in a beautifully simple and child-like way. The cast do most of the heavy lifting, but they do it with grace and ease. Because of the film’s excellent use of vibrant colour and quirky fashions, this movie would be great for people who enjoy sativas. Moonrise Kingdom would also be ideal for people who want to chill after having a stressful day at the office and who want to be reminded of the wonders of childhood. All in all, a great watch.




Filed under Comedy, Drama, Great, Romance

5 responses to “Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

  1. Tom

    Fully agreed dude, great summary. I love almost every single second of this movie. (Spare a few cheesy special effects, like that lightning kiss moment haha). I think it’s Wes Anderson’s best, but I too am far from seeing all that he’s done. of them, i’ve got The Life Aquatic, The Royal Tenenbaums and this under my belt. I think Bottle Rocket is next on my list

    • Thanks for reading! I haven’t seen anything else of his but, based on the strength of Moonrise Kingdom, I think I’ll like his other stuff. There’s a cinema in London that does Wes Ander-thons all the time so I have plenty of opportunity to see his other stuff…or I could just watch it online whatevs.

  2. Abbi

    This is the only Wes Anderson film that I really liked (so far). I watched The Life Aquatic this week and it was okay-ish but mostly I just don’t really get him. Moonrise Kingdom is special though.

  3. I don’t get Wes Anderson but maybe I should give this a try someday. Nice review. 🙂

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