Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom is a story of first love, set in 1965.  The lovers are two 12 year olds, Sam, an orphan, and Suzy, who lives on New Penzance Island. Sam meets her on a Khaki Scout field trip to the island. They become pen pals and concoct a plot to run away together while Sam is on the island for a Khaki Scout camp. The difference between the adult characters like Suzy’s parents, Captain Sharp, and Scoutmaster Ward, is that Sam and Suzy have an openness to the world, even as they rebel against the constraints placed on them by that adult world by running away to create their own.  As their adventure goes on, they learn more about each other’s world views, and the limits of each other’s experience, as well as one another’s faults and flaws, but this doesn’t cause tension and conflict in their relationship. They accept the reality of the other. They take each other as they are, for what they are, and try to help each other be better. Sam and Suzy’s openness and acceptance of each other is contrasted by the attitudes of the other Khaki Scouts in Sam’s troop.  The other Scouts are children who play at adult roles, like Redford, who can’t stand any deviance from social norms, and takes on the role of an enforcer of society’s rules, the way a policeman, or a principal would. After the runaways are apprehended, one of the Scouts, Skotak, has a change of heart about their involvement in the capture and their unthinking rejection of Sam.  Skotak gives a speech convincing the others to help rescue Sam and Suzy. It doesn’t matter that of course, two 12 year olds can’t run off together and live a happy life, what matters is the changing of our hearts to love and accept other humans, and seek their happiness. Eventually the adults are won over to this purpose as well, but with their additional wisdom and years of experience, are able to cut to the heart of the matter, and give Sam and Suzy what they really needed all along, a family to belong to.

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