I’m about three months late on the whole Moonrise Kingdom thing, but I saw it with my dad just the other day (I couldn’t find anyone else with whom to go, and I thought it might be useful to quiz my dad on how realistic the clothes in the movie were since he actually grew up in the ’60s). It is impressively ironic how such a bizarre film can accurately capture all the minutia of being a teenager. The cast is impeccable and the plot is enticing; Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward) and Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman) are two equally awkward twelve-year-olds/unrequited lovers who run away from home to be together. The plot is entirely unbelievable — they run away from home not once, but two times, and survive the unthinkable (a group of angry boy scouts with weapons, lightning, etc).
The movie, set in 1965, is a green mosaic of peter pan collars, gingham fabrics, saddle shoes, knee-socks, and the eerie half-lit color of a New England summertime dawn. I live very close to where the movie was filmed, and although the New England wilderness looks slightly better on the silver screen, the lighting and landscape are very similar to what I see every day. My sister took a really good photo of the woods in my backyard and it shows just how green everything is, but I can’t find it anywhere.
Impeccable Attention to Detail
There are so many painstakingly crafted details in the movie. Wes Anderson said, “[The movie] has maps, and it has books, and it has watercolor paintings and needle-points, and a lot of different things that we had to make. And all these things just take forever, but I feel like even if they don’t get that much time [on screen], you kind of feel whether or not they’ve got the layers of the real thing in them.” They certainly do have the layers of the real thing in them, and I tried very hard to notice as much as I could.
Suzy Bishop’s overly applied blue eyeshadow is perfect for a self-conscious teenage girl. So are the pony beads spelling out her name on the drawstring of her coat.
Although you can’t quite see, that shift is gingham. Everything about this screenshot is perfect, from the juxtaposition of the oranges with the blue sky to the shape of the cumulus clouds in the background.
Every square inch of the screen is filled with something to marvel at. Note the record collection in the lower left and right hand corners, very fitting for a girl in the ’60s. From the plaid tin lunchbox to the Cape Cod -esque design on the curtains, everything seems to fit just right.
Who the hell knows what Tang is anymore?
When you think of saddle shoes, you think of them as crisp, pristine black and white. It is amazing how quickly they get scuffed up and dirty, and I love that they are portrayed as the latter all throughout the movie.
This kid has got her own letterhead! I love how she threw an extra line between the U and R in “Yours.” Suzy’s handwriting is so characteristic of a twelve-year-old’s that it hurts.
There is one other detail I liked that can not be showed in a picture. Suzy remarks how it must be more exciting to be an orphan, hitting upon this juvenile desire to always have it worse. Sam, knowing painfully how much it sucks to have it worse, prosaically responds, “I love you, but you don’t know what you’re talking about.”
The Overwhelming Greenness of Everything
The entire movie is tinted green.
I love how the khaki color of Sam’s uniform correlates beautifully with the ruddy color of the moss-covered ground and the green leafy canopy above. His brooch matches his handkerchief which matches his backpack, and his raccoon hat matches the tree limb behind him.
Old sunglasses, gray Converse sneakers, and brown oxford shoes. The perspective is fantastic, and, once again, so much green.
YES. Such a perfect shot of the New England countryside.
I love that windmill in the background. There is one exactly like that fairly close to my house in the yard of an antique shop opposite an apple orchard. It all sounds so quaint and pretty but, having lived here all my life, it gets hard to romanticize little things like that.
What a weapon! Again, just look at the colors.
Bill Murray’s Pants
Bill Murray plays Suzy’s dad. His wife is having an affair with a police officer and he is secretly glad that his troubled daughter runs away from home. Not to mention that he has the coolest (read: ugliest) pants ever.
“I’ll be out back, I’m gonna find a tree to chop down.”
Bill Murray also discusses his pants in this video. I can’t tell whether he’s joking or not.
The soundtrack was composed by Benjamin Britten. My favorite song is “Cuckoo,” but there are so many more. I’ve embedded “Cuckoo” below, and the rest of the songs can be found here.
The entire movie is a big conglomeration of assorted eye candies, and I think you all should go and see it. Also, watch this!
Note: all of the screenshots used in this post belong to Focus Features.