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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Swift Footed Elopement

Moonrise Kingdom (2012) on IMDb

Plot Overview

flute and drumA narrator & resident of an island community (Bob Balaban) describes his New Penzance Island as being sixteen miles long and criss­crossed with numerous unnamed, unpaved walking trails. The camera shows us simple style houses painted in basic colors. Meals consist largely of variations on eggplant. eggplant

The year is 1965. Twelve-year-old Suzy (Kara Hayward) lives with her parents Walt (Bill Murray) and Laura Bishop (Frances McDormand), and three younger siblings, on the northern point called Summer's End. She puts an educational composition on her younger brother's battery operated record player, which breaks down an orchestral piece into its constituent components of: wood­winds, brass, strings and percussion.

On the other end of the island is Camp Ivanhoe of the Khaki Scouts, a troop that takes itself very seriously with their badges, uniforms, and ceremonies. When Scout­master Randy Ward (Edward Norton) discovers unpopular 12-year-old Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman) missing from his tent, he calls Island Police Captain Duffy Sharp (Bruce Willis) who mounts a search along with this very organized scout troop. When Suzy turns up missing, as well, a liaison is suspected. At least on a sixteen mile island, they couldn't have gone far. Or could they?


We are taken back to when the couple first met, backstage at St. Jack's Church on the neighboring island of St. Jack Wood, during a performance of Benjamin Britten's one act children's opera “Noye's Fludde” (“Noah's Flood.”) Its rousing song of “Eternal Father strong to save” (men in peril of the sea) evokes the storm soon to come as well as the remaking of the coastal lands after Noah's flood, along the lines of Psalm 74:15-17. It also presages the chase to come, (Psalm 74:19-21) “O deliver not the soul of thy turtle­dove unto the multitude of the wicked: forget not the congregation of thy poor for ever. Have respect unto the covenant: for the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty. O let not the oppressed return ashamed: let the poor and needy praise thy name.”

The educational record at the movie's beginning prepared us to pick out the instruments played: hand­bells, strings, and percussion. The back­stage scenes offer a glimpse of the components of this medieval miracle play. In fact this all prepares us for deconstructing a wedding-to-come: presiding official, willing couple, attending guests, and what­ever legal instruments there might be. The official says some words, the couple repeats or says theirs, the congregation witnesses it, and the legal paper­work is (theoretically) filled out. Here's how it's presented:

Sam: Thank you, sir. By the way, where's the chapel tent?

Cousin Ben: Back there, but the padre's home with the mumps. Why do you ask?

Sam: I want to bring my wife.

Cousin Ben: [stopping abruptly]

Suzy: But we're not married yet.

Cousin Ben: You his girl?

Suzy: Yeah.

Cousin Ben: Technically, I'm a civil law scrivener. I'm authorized to declare births, deaths, and marriages. You're kind of young. You got a license?

Sam, Suzy: No.

Cousin Ben: I can't offer you a legally binding union. It won't hold up in the state, the county, or frankly, any court­room in the world, due to your age, lack of a license, and failure to get parental consent. But the ritual does carry a very important moral weight within your­selves. You can't enter into the contract lightly. Look into my eyes. Do you love each other?

Suzy: Yes, we do.

Cousin Ben: Think about what I'm saying. Are you sure you're ready for this?

Suzy: Yes, we are.

Cousin Ben: [to nobody in particular] They're not listening to me. Let me rephrase it.

Suzy: We're in a hurry.

Cousin Ben: Are you chewing gum? Spit out the gum, sister. In fact, everybody.

[collecting up spit-out gum]

Cousin Ben: I don't like the snappy attitude. This is the most important decision you've made in your lives. Now go over by the trampoline and talk it through before you give me another quick answer——

To look at human marriage, I'll quote Dr. Ide: “The Contemporary Christian stan­dard was defined not by the bible but gen­er­ated by Roman law as defined by the jurist Modest­inus who argued that marriage was ‘consortium omnis vitae, divini et humani iuris communi­catio: a life-long part­ner­ship, and a sharing of civil and religious rights’” (83–5). It's not just what the state, the civil authority declares, but religious authority has some play in the matter, as well. Here it is the only authority in play, for the moral sphere, no legalities involved. I was listening to a Bible answer show where a caller from some islands asked about his marriage that didn't have any legal frame­work, just the tradition that every­one in his community accepted. The answer-man was dumb­founded, but that's just the way it was.

The authority here is a scrivener, but it could be anyone the people are prepared to follow; in the storm to come it was one who had temporarily lost his credentials.

To establish the moral framework, the congregation was needed as the important witnesses. It takes at least two witnesses to establish some­thing, but they had plenty. In the religious/moral sphere, they could not have used the police­man for one of the required two, how­ever, because he would be considered an officer of the court. In America the first amendment prohibits the state from establishing a religion, what the mini-congregation of the marrying couple would be in its own sphere.

And we had the couple solemnly considering this moral weight.

I live in a town hosting an enclave of hippies, so we see a lot of variation. At the hippie fair last weekend, a band consisting of percussion and brass came down the trail. Another day there was a bigger band on the trail playing “Teddy Bears Picnic.” They had wood­winds, percussion, and brass. Later on I encountered a couple cellists playing and marching. In MK the educational record is played for us at the end; we get to hear the whole orchestra come together.

Production Values

This delightful romp, “” (2012) was written and directed by Wes Anderson, co-written by Roman Coppola. It stars Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, and Bruce Willis. Other actors included Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Ed Norton, Tilda Swinton, and Harvey Keitel, with a small cameo from Jason Schwartz­man. The acting of the two young leads Hayward and Gilman was superb. The rest of the cast was great, as well. The incipient adult stars played it straight with­out much back­ground padding.

It was rated PG–13 for sexual content and smoking. The Choctaw Indian harvest trail the youngsters followed shows their island to be in the American south­east. The simple setting, architecture, and plot belie the complexity of musical instruments, theater props, and wedding doings. I suppose that's to allow our minds to assimilate the latter, the former being a cinch. The musical score was varied and 1960s compatible. The cinema­tog­raphy, acting, and visuals were all nicely done. This film as a whole stands out for having style.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

This was a touching movie and earned some applause from the audience. It's both memorable and able to accommodate a second viewing. It's mostly slow-paced with some tense moments. It holds an optimistic view of youth.

Movie Ratings

Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Action factor: Well done action flick Video Occasion: Good Date Movie Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat Special effects: Well done special effects Overall movie rating: Five stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Ide, Arthur Frederick. Noah & the Ark: The Influence of Sex, Homophobia and Hetero­sexism in the Flood Story and its Writing. Las Colinas: Monument Press, 1992. Print.