Moonrise Kingdom Parent Guide
"Moonrise Kingdom"'s fanciful art direction makes virtually every scene a treat to visually explore. Yet it will likely come up short for audiences that would prefer less content issues.
Parent Movie Review
When you view a lot of movies it’s difficult to keep up with who-made-what. But within 15 minutes of watching Moonrise Kingdom my brain immediately thought of the stop-frame animation Fantastic Mr. Fox. And no wonder. Director Wes Anderson is the father of both of these films, and variety of other cinematic experiences that have attracted the word “quirky” en masse. (Try putting his name and quirky into a Google search box…)
With similar determination as the aforementioned fox, this film introduces us to two indomitable young adolescents living on a fictitious New England island called Penzance. It is 1965 and Sam (Jared Gilman) is an orphan spending the summer with his scout group. In his brain he’s an adult, which doesn’t make him an easy fit with the rest of the boys. Meanwhile on the other side of the small piece of dirt is Suzy (Kara Hayward), a perfectly primped young lady who resides in a lighthouse with her parents and three younger brothers.
Even though a good chunk of the land separates Sam and Suzy, that hasn’t prevented their strong attraction. Completely smitten with each other since they first met a year earlier while the young girl was in a play, they have been writing letters to one another and are even planning an elopement. Trusting her young man knows his way about in the wilderness, Suzy rendezvous with him wearing her best shoes and a miniskirt while toting a suitcase full of books and a battery operated record player.
After a day of wandering the couple sets up camp on a secluded beach, strips down to their underwear and go swimming. Later Sam presents his fiancée with a pair of fishhook earrings that he uses to pierce her ears. That’s followed by some dancing on the beach, a little French kissing and some brief fondling (while still wearing underwear, Suzy tells Sam he can feel her breasts).
Meanwhile a storm is brewing—metaphorically and literally. The girl’s parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand), Sam’s scoutmaster (Edward Norton), the Khaki Scout group and the local sheriff (Bruce Willis) are on the hunt for the runaways. Their success early the next morning provides a rude awakening for the young lovebirds, but their capture doesn’t deter them from looking for other opportunities to pursue their courtship.
Along with the extended section of the movie where the twelve-year-olds are seen in their underwear, viewers also see watercolor painting of a nude girl with a bare breast that Sam has created to express how he imagines Suzy. Other content issues involve a married woman who admits to having an affair after being questioned by her daughter, and young boys speculating about Sam and Suzy’s sexual relationship. Violence includes a scuffle between young boys and a girl that ends with one of them being stabbed with scissors (the bloody injury is shown) and a pet dog is shot with an arrow. Verbal outbursts between adults and kids occur regularly. And the script contains profanities, infrequent sexual comments, mild obscenities, terms of deity and name-calling.
It’s safe to say that if you saw Anderson’s Mr. Fox and thought it was funny, you’ll likely find humor in the many of the sight gags and situations in this film too. While it Moonrise Kingdom isn’t an animation, its fanciful art direction makes virtually every scene a treat to visually explore. Yet, sadly, this movie’s movie collection of somewhat dysfunctional adults and all-knowing children will likely come up short for audiences that would prefer to enjoy artistic these merits without all the hormones.Directed by Wes Anderson. Starring Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray . Running time: 93 minutes. Theatrical release May 25, 2012. Updated July 15, 2016
Rating & Content Info
Why is Moonrise Kingdom rated PG-13? Moonrise Kingdom is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sexual content and smoking.
Violence: Young boys and a girl get into a fight, during the scuffle a boy is stabbed with a pair of scissors in his side, we see a bloody injury and later are told he may have kidney damage. A dog is shot with an arrow (we see the dog’s body with the arrow sticking out—the dog appears fake). During a quick montage scene we see other mild violence, including school-aged children fighting with each other. Many scenes depict characters, both young and old, arguing with one another. A boy uses fishhooks to pierce a girl’s ears—no details are seen. Children contemplate jumping from a high tower.
Sexual Content: A 12 year-old boy and girl set up a camp together. They undress down to their underwear and go swimming. Afterward they are seen, while still in their underwear, dancing on the beach and briefly French kissing. The boy briefly fondles the girl’s breast after she implies he has an erection and suggests that he may touch her chest. They go to bed in a tent and we see them together, still in underwear, the next morning. No other sexual activity is implied. In an earlier scene a watercolor painting is seen of a young girl with an exposed breast.
Language: Infrequent sexual references, mild profanities, terms of deity and name-calling are heard.
Drugs/Alcohol: A young boy is briefly seen smoking a pipe. Other adults smoke and drink socially. An adult offers a young boy a small amount of beer.
Page last updated July 15, 2016
Moonrise Kingdom Parents' Guide
What commentary does Moonrise Kingdom offer about the way adults resolve problems versus children? Why do you think the creator of this film chose to set it in 1965? Would we feel differently about this depiction if it were set in the present?
The most recent home video release of Moonrise Kingdom movie is October 16, 2012. Here are some details…
Home Video Notes: Moonrise Kingdom
Release Date: 16 October 2012
Moonrise Kingdom releases to home video (Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy) with the following extras:
- A look inside Moonrise Kingdom
- Welcome to the Island of New Penzance: Bob Balaban narrates a series of guided tours from the locations of Moonrise Kingdom featuring Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, and Wes Anderson
- Set Tour with Bill Murray: Bill Murray personally takes viewers on a tour of the Moonrise Kingdom sets.
Related home video titles:
You may want to check out the slightly more family friendly Fantastic Mr. Fox also directed by Wes Anderson. The pair of first time actors in this film is supported by some well-accomplished thespians. Look for Bill Murray (City of Ember, Groundhog Day), Bruce Willis (Surrogates, 16 Blocks), Edward Norton (The Incredible Hulk, The Illusionist) and Tilda Swinton (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe).