“I love you, but you have no idea what you’re talking about.”
-Sam, to his girlfriend Suzy
The plot of Moonrise Kingdom is relatively simple: a young couple falls in love and runs away. Parents, guardians, and police officers search for the two lost kids. All the while, a threatening storm brews. That’s it! But it’s not the plot but the characters that make Moonrise Kingdom so enjoyable to watch.
For starters, the conversations between the characters may not be dramatic or earth-shattering, but the simple statements that the characters make have the impact of a freight train. Take this conversation between wife Laura Bishop (Frances McDormand) and husband Walt Bishop (Bill Murray):
Laura Bishop: (about their daughter Suzy) We’re all she’s got.
Walt Bishop: It’s not enough.
Bam. Seven little words, and you get a feel for this very real family. This family is flawed, tumultuous, and often strained, but it’s a family nonetheless.[youtube.com/watch?feature=fvwp&v=MycYnTmv_9o&NR=1]
The film is not only poignant and affecting, but downright hilarious. Much of the film’s humor is derived simply from the way the actors say their lines. When the highly-organized, straight-arrow Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton) first sees a tree house that one of his scouts made, he, appalled, tells the young scout that a fall from that height would result in “a guaranteed death!” Or when Cousin Ben (Jason Schwartzman) lectures Sam and Suzy over the significance of marriage, he tells them to spit out their gum and “go over by that trampoline and talk it over before you give me another quick answer.”[youtube.com/watch?v=9rFlCjTVGkc]
The movie’s charm comes from the earnestness of the characters. No one in the film is perfect. In fact, every character has his or her quirks and flaws that they must deal with. All the same, everyone, from the police officer to the bumbling parents, is doing their best to do what’s right and look out for one another. The end result is an extremely endearing experience.