Saw Moonrise Kingdom again the other night.
I strongly agree with Greg’s take on Suzy and Sam’s relationship. This is evident in their conversation on the beach where Suzy is telling Sam about how she wants to go on adventures. Sam agrees with everything that Suzy says, nonchalantly. He’s playing cool so that she’ll like him. They’ve already had one brief spat over his blithe reaction to the book on troubled children and he wants to keep things moving forward. Adventure isn’t something that Sam is looking for at all. One suspects that being an orphan and the product of the foster care system is adventure enough. And it’s in the hilarious, “I love you, but you don’t know what you’re talking about” line that their separate directions become crystalized. She is permitted to fantasize and read her adventure books only until she fantasizes about something that he knows about in reality. Sam is a practical person, trained by the Khaki Scouts to survive in the wild. Suzy is throughly impractical; she bring a record player and a French 45 from her aunt on this trip.
But their separate ways are pronounced in the ending by Sam’s adoption of Captain Sharp’s professional attire.
Matt mentioned earlier that Suzy and her mother are linked visually by their orange cloths (Suzy’s dress, mom’s rain slicker). If the two are to be seen as connected, then we have to take account for the mother’s temporary relationship with Captain Sharp. The mother cuts the affair off near the end of the film, just in time for Suzy to (reluctantly) rejoin the fold and for Sam to assume the parallel role of Sharp.
Also, I think it’s safe to say that Sam and Suzy are experiencing two different types of alienation. Sam lacks parents. He’s given surrogate communities by his foster family (which rejects him) and the Khaki Scout troop (also rejects him). But Sam is more than willing to rejoin the troop once they all decide to support Sam (Sam, when confronted by his injured Scout enemy, doesn’t attack or taunt him, but instead asks why he was never liked; indicating that Sam never understood it and might have liked to be liked), and he’s also willing to embrace a family with Captain Sharp. Suzy’s return to her family isn’t quite the same, is it? Suzy only defaults to her family because Sam chooses Captain Sharp over jumping to a suicidal death with her.
Jazz, yes, I don’t think anyone is saying that Sam and Suzy don’t find a connection, they clearly do, and we can even say they are still happy to some extent at the end of the film, but the movie suggests there is a tenuous quality to that happiness, and that was the point of what I was trying to get at. The erasure of the inlet from the map, the way Britten’s song is used, the connection between Sam and Captain Sharp and Suzy and her mother all point towards their moment of deeper connection being just that, a moment, something that can’t hold. To the audience, or at least this member of the audience, the poignancy comes from the awareness of loss, the loss of faith in stories one can tell oneself, even while recognizing the impossibility of those stories the desire remains. The story itself then gives some indication of why that might be, it links the desire to our striving for connection and recognition and suggests that there is an incompatibility built in to those desires. We want to be recognized and valued as individuals but also as part of a group or clan. When we have the one we can feel we’ve lost the other. A balance may be found, but it is often a tenuous one as our self identity isn’t entirely stable. You can think of Certified Copy, for example, working along these lines as well in an obviously more direct way. (Or a more ambiguous way depending on how one wants to use the terms.)
I didn’t mean to suggest that my gloss on the story of Noah is meant as some sort of deep biblical exegesis, I’m just pointing out that it occupies a somewhat analogous position as a foundation myth which shapes our understanding. Noah’s story is particularly appealing to the young in this way as the pairing off of all the animals and the flood are vivid and suggestive images.
“Also, I think it’s safe to say that Sam and Suzy are experiencing two different types of alienation . . . "
I hadn’t really thought about them in those terms, but that’s an interesting idea.
Seeing this tomorrow! Yay, birthday!
You better comment on this thread or we’ll hunt you down.
That almost sounds like too much fun to pass up… But I’ll probably end up commenting anyway.
Bytheway, I haven’t read any of this thread yet, but I did watch The Royal Tenenbaums last night as prep (it’s my favorite Anderson).
Well, I don’t like to get hopes up for anyone, but The Royal Tenenbaums used to be my favorite Anderson.
That’s good to hear. My very favorite moment of the film, well one of them, but the one that always starts the tears, is the moment at the end when Royal gives the dalmation to his son, and freaking Ben Stiller says, choking up, “I had a rough year, dad.”
That one moment says everything about Royal’s ultimate (ham-fisted and self-centered) triumph. And I love it.
Suzy only defaults to her family because Sam chooses Captain Sharp over jumping to a suicidal death with her.
Do you think Suzy might have changed her attitude a bit when she has that talk with her mother (or just being back home with her family)? I can’t remember enough details to say either way, but I’m just throwing this question out there.
… but the movie suggests there is a tenuous quality to that happiness, and that was the point of what I was trying to get at.
Got it. I read your posts as suggesting that the relationship was definitely doomed. And my feeling was that the film didn’t come across that strongly—that it wasn’t really projecting too far into the future for the characters, if that makes any sense (although I might not be appreciating the potential areas of conflict in the relationship that you’ve pointed out).
I think I understand where you’re coming from with your reading on the story of Noah’s Ark. Your interpretation of just struck, because it was not the way I normally thought of the story.
As I was just trying to suggest in the Darjeeling thread, man I hate having multiple threads on the same subjects open simultaneously, part of what I was trying to suggest is that there are multiple available options for “reading” the relationship and the events, and that trying to define it purely by the most apparent option, that of Sam and Suzy being together at the end of the film, doesn’t do the movie justice and doesn’t explain the things which work as a counterpoint to the “happy ending”. It’s the tension created by competing possibilities, as much as anything, which makes the movie interesting after all.
Man, I really liked this one. It might be the sting of a new thing, but right now I’d put it up there with Tenenbaums and Rushmore. But I have to let it soak in some more. I’ll be back to read this thread through and put some more detailed thoughts down.
I still feel that way about it after having seen it several weeks ago, House.
I’ve really enjoyed reading through this—I agree with much that’s been said positively of the film—and was especially interested in the analysis of the soundtrack, since I know nothing of many of the artists mentioned.
One of the things that I appreciated most about the film was the frank and, frankly, adult, way in which the burgeoning sexuality of the two children is handled—she in her underwear, he with his erection, the french kissing, etc. I can’t think of another recent American film that was bold enough to go there. The last film I saw that was this frank (though it took it several steps further) was Young Aphrodities. Their romance is depicted in an honest and mature way without being titillating, though often amusing (cause we’ve all been there before).
I also noticed the aspect ratio. When the screen resized as the film began I thought, okay, well that’s different for Anderson. The projection I saw was also a little off (so was that of Beasts of the Southern Wild, which I also saw today).
As for Norton, I thought this was his best role in years.
Yeah, I liked Norton in this a lot too.
On another note, family geometry:
I didn’t really buy him as a habitual smoker though…
Yeah, but in a way, in terms of the character, the awkwardness of it struck me as sort of almost an adolescent affectation of adultness, which probably fed back in to the way I saw his character.
Nice save, I like it
Sometimes my disbelief suspender may get a little overactive.
I sort of lost track of where I was headed with this, but, it’s sort of formally interesting that Anderson keeps doing variations of shots with the boys arranged in a triangle and one of the other family members framed inside of a rectangular opening . . .
Why doesn’t Wes Anderson do an HBO children’s series?
Think about it. You know it would be a hit.
guys, i finally saw this, loved it and reading this thread afterward made it all the more pleasurable. i want to watch it again!! thank you xD
i loved this movie a lot. i saw it in the theatres three times. it’s my favourite wes anderson flick
I see it as, Suzy is bored with the life laid out for her, Sam has no life laid out for him by anyone. Suzy feels like she’s judged whenever she deviates from the path, Sam feels judged all the time, and neither judge each other. They are each others’ shelter, and each others’ story and escape from tedium. Sam makes Suzy feel there’s something else for her, Suzy makes Sam feel there’s somebody who cares about him.
Oh man, this movie is Anderson’s best yet. By the time the dog incident occurred I was shocked, beguiled, laughing, and amazed, and couldn’t look away.
I’ll read through this thread later to continue the discussion but for now I thought I’d throw that out there.
I agree this was Anderson’s best film (at least of the ones I’ve seen). It’s one of my favorite movies of the year, and possibly one of the best. (See I don’t hate everything. ;)
Jazz how about a 2012 best list from you
I don’t know if the list would be so meaningful, Den. I’ve seen less than twenty 2012 films so far. (So I guess saying that MK is the best 2012 film I’ve seen isn’t saying much. But it is my favorite Anderson film and I really enjoyed it!)
“(See I don’t hate everything. ;)”
Easily Anderson’s best film since Rushmore. I didn’t love it, but his formal skills are getting better: this is arguably his best and most precise looking film to date. The ‘cutesy’ tone still bothers me though; i guess Anderson’s sensibility is no longer for me. Having said that, there is a stronger melancholy undercurrent present than most of his other films. Overall, it strikes me as being a more ‘mature’ work.
Like him or hate him, there is no other film maker in the world like him, and in today’s stale and generic marketplace, that’s surely gotta count for something.