This will be the first movie review that I blog. So far, the blog has focused mostly on mental health, but my intent is for it to be a little of everything going forward. My movie reviews will not be traditional ones, in the sense that I am not going to do a rundown of the plot and how well the aspects of the film did or did not fit together cohesively. I simply just want to share my thoughts and feelings from the film. Here goes…
I watched Moonrise Kingdom for the first time a couple years ago. I remember being excited at the prospect of it when it first came out. With Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, and appearances by Tilda Swinton and Harvey Keitel, it boasts one hell of a cast. Alas, I procrastinated.
When I finally did see it, I was so overwhelmed by its simplistic beauty that I could not fully process it. I just knew that I needed to watch it again.
I finally watched it again last night. I still find the film absolutely beautiful to the point that I teared up slightly when it was over. Plus, the combination of classical music, country songs by Hank Williams, and original score by Alexandre Desplat (he did Harry Potter!) made for an amazing soundtrack that rustles the soul.
Moonrise Kingdom is a coming-of-age romantic comedy/drama that follows Sam Shakusky and Suzy Bishop, twelve-year old children living on the 16-mile long island of New Penzance in 1965. Sam and Suzy are both friendless and outcast among family, but immediately connect when they meet each other at a play. They become pen pals, writing letters that span a year. They decide to run away together for ten days, to discover the island and each other. In that span of time, they’re deep friendship blossoms into love and they desire to be together forever. There are several other aspects surrounding their lives and family that are important to the film, but I choose to focus on Sam and Suzy’s deep-seated love for each other.
Do you remember or have you ever known a time when love was that easy? Sam and Suzy met, stayed in touch via written communication (a lost art), and finally and simply decide to be together. At one point in the movie, they decide to get married. They are urged and begged by another one of the khaki scouts to take time to think about whether they should get married, as it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. Sam and Suzy take less than five minutes to decide, with no regrets.
Now, obviously, we cannot let 12-years old get married because they truly don’t understand the gravity it or have the means to care for each other without help. But, it’s interesting to think on how much more complicated we make these decisions as adults… Is it the right time to date? Am I really in love? I’ve only known this person for aa few days, but I’m already wondering if I can be with them for the rest of my life and scaring myself away. Should I even be thinking about that so soon? Should I wait years to admit my feelings? Who should say I love you first? Does everything change after marriage? Should I even bother with getting married? Who needs a piece of paper? Blah blah… blah blah blah. Before we know it, we’ve ruined a perfectly good thing before we even get the chance to have it.
If this movie taught me anything, it’s to seize the moment. Sam and Suzy may not end up together forever. They might grow up and grow apart. But, in that moment on Moonrise Kingdom, they were happy together and love with each other. They cared for each other, wanted to do anything to be together, and were ready to die for each other. They lived the moment, without dwelling in the past or worrying about the future. The anxious adult that I have become is jealous of this and wonders if I’ve ever had a moment that I could describe as encompassing such simplicity and clarity.
On a more personal note, Sam and Suzy are both described as being “emotionally disturbed” children. Their parents did not know how to deal with them. Other children chose (yes, chose) not to like them because they did not understand them. In my battles with depression and anxiety, I’ve looked back and realized that this was often the case in my own life. I chose to retreat with myself more often than not. I know I gave my parents a hell of time and probably, still do. We all have problems, some of us more than others. But, that doesn’t mean, as dismal as the prospect sometimes seems, that there isn’t someone out there for us. We all deserve to be happy. Sam and Suzy eventually gain the respect and favor of other khaki troop members, who ultimately help them stay together out of remorse for their previous behavior. Their parents might never approve of their relationship but THEY do, and they are beautifully ecstatic in it.
Simplify your mind. You might find love where you weren’t looking for it or where it’s always been.