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What Are the Themes and Meaning of Moonrise Kingdom?

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This question originally appeared on Quora.

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By Matthew Treski, Web Developer at Eidetic Web Design

This is really basic and cliché, but I would say that one of the major themes of Moonrise Kingdom is the make-believe world of childhood, with all of its naiveté, resilience, and imagination and how that contrasts to the make believe world of adults.

Sam and Suzy are both surrounded by dysfunction, with Sam a foster child and Suzy and several siblings surrounded by parents in a loveless marriage. They both feel lost, lonely, and are seeking attention and escape. 

Then, Suzy catches Sam's eye, Sam shows interest, and an adventure is launched with a destination that seems to be their idea of paradise. A place where they are free to explore and be themselves without the hassle and baggage of their parents.

Meanwhile, the adults in the film have been living in a domestic stupor. Lifeless, loveless marriages. A monotonous daily routine. I think the movie speaks to the fact that kids and adults both create these delicate fantasy worlds that get them through the day. It takes the children running away to wake some the adults from this stupor and get them to deal with some real adult emotion and consequence.

I love the scene where Murray and McDormand are laying in their Dick Van Dyke separate beds and Murray says of the kids, "We are all they have. It's not enough."

(That sucker punch emotion is classic Anderson - you are lulled into this whimsical world where the problems are muted and soft, and then all of a sudden, a dagger of emotion. Think Ritchie cutting his wrists in Tenenbaums, Francis removing the bandages in Darjeeling, hell, Mrs Fox telling Fox she shouldn't have married him.)

As far as lessons and insight, I don't know, I am of the school that what you take from art is yours and yours alone. It might resemble the same things others take from it, but it is still uniquely yours.

As I was watching the movie, I would slip ever so briefly into head mode (as opposed to heart mode), and I would get caught up in the little things. Those were the only times during the movie I wasn't smiling. Not laughing, just smiling. The movie made me think of adventure, childhood, and the stories we had to create to make sense of it all.

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