The Theme of Coming of Age in the Movie Moonrise Kingdom Directed by Wes Anderson

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Growing up is a different experience for everyone, but for certain individuals tragedy and sensitivity can impact them in negative wayst Until they reach a coming of age point where they can accept their differences and begin to love themselves andjoin society again. With there being a large amount of works that portray this plot I wanted to choose a movie that I truly understood and connected with therefore I chose “Moonrise Kingdom” directed by Wes Anderson. This story is about a boy named Sam Shakusky who is a twelve year old orphan sent by his foster family to become a khaki scout at Camp Ivanhoe, located on an island off the coast of New England.

He is an introvert that does not feel like he has a place anywhere in the world That is until he meets Suzy Bishop a year prior to the events Suzy lives on the opposite side of the island with her parents and three younger brothers She is also an introvert in the way Sam is by believing she does not really belong in her family The two make a promise to each other that they will run away together which is what the entire plot of the film consists of Sam uses his Khaki Scout skills to set camp up, feed, and take care of Suzy during theirjourney. He meticulously plans the trip on a map for them. They overcome many obstacles while on their trip such as battling the other Khaki Scouts when they are found in the woods and fight them off to freedom. While that is a short summary of the plot of the film many literary techniques are used to show the coming of age moment of both Sam and Suzy.

One literary technique used is Romance/Love throughout the entire film A flashback occurs at the beginning showing the first time the two meta year prior at a play called “Noye‘s Fludde” where Suzy plays as a dark, black ravent Sam sneaks into the dressing room and appears in front of a group of girls and directly points Suzy out and asks her what kind of bird she is, Right before leaving to return to Camp Ivanhoe Suzy writes Sam a note, giving him her address and asking him to write her, Fastforwarding to present the two finally come together again and begin their journey. From my opinion Sam and Suzy instantly connect with each other and form a very strong bond, Both Children think they do not belong until they are together and realize they are not alone at all because they have each other and ultimately mature together that brings them to their coming of age moment. One other important technique used is the definitions of family, this was obvious because Sam does not have a family at all, while Suzy does but struggles to fit in with hers.

During the film, Scoutmaster Randy has no idea that Sam is an orphan until the island police, Captain Sharp contacts his family to notify them that he has gone missing, Sam’s foster father tells the Captain that he can no longer accept Sam back into their house because it would be unfair for the other children. This is yet another struggle that Sam has to deal with because not only does he not have a real family but he is denied by his foster family as well. The worst part of this is Sam has no idea that his foster parents do not want him to return and even tells Suzy that he thinks they are finally becoming a family and getting to know each other better.

This tragedy definitely plays a part on the growth and development of Sam throughout his childhood. On the other hand, Suzy has two loving supportive parents along with three younger brothers, But she still feels like she does not fit in her family for she gets into trouble at school for her anger issues therefore making her think she is a disappointment to them. This is the whole reason she decides running away with Sam is better than staying with her family Sam and Suzy make it to their goal destination on a beach but a bad storm is headed for the island so the search party formed by Scoutmaster, Captain Sharp, and Suzy’s parents becomes a crucial task to find the two. Fear fades away as the search party finally finds the two children and brings them to safety, Tension is strong when Sam is finally confronted with the truth of his foster family while Suzy faces the repercussions of running away from home.

But I think this is a really important moment for the both of them because they finally get the chance to come to reality of their lives. Sam finally knows the truth that even his foster family does not want him to return home after receiving a letter from his foster father explaining it is not fair for the other children. He also tells Scoutmaster Randy he no longer wants to be a Khaki Scout for he feels as if he does not belong there either, that is until the scouts decide Sam has enough torture and torment and they decide to help him get Suzy back. They take both Sam and Suzy to a neighboring Khaki Scout camp, Fort Lebanon, where they can finally be together hopefully for good this time. As the storm grows closer a flash flood warning is sent out all over and an emergency evacuation becomes in order.

The flood is disastrous to the island and I think it represents the change the island needed, because after all the damages it causes it brought everyone back together as a community. Sam finally has a place where he feels like he has a family and belongs while Suzy gets the chance to confront her mom on how she is cheating on her father with Captain Sharp the island police I think the ending really ties everything together because Sam gets to stay on the island and still see Suzy while finally having a family to call his own. Finally with the destruction of family, love ultimately wins and both Sam and Suzy have a new outlook on the world and rather than being pessimistic they move forward to do great things together in life together as a couple.

Works Cited

Moonrise kingdom. Dir. Wes Anderson. Perf. Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward. Universal, 2012. Netflix,

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The Theme of Coming of Age in the Movie Moonrise Kingdom Directed by Wes Anderson. (2022, Nov 27). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/the-theme-of-coming-of-age-in-the-movie-moonrise-kingdom-directed-by-wes-anderson/

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