Okay so. Aside from the gaping mouths of Asian carp in captivity and having both thumbnails peeled all the way back, my least favorite things in the universe are reviews of Wes Anderson films. No offense to anyone who’s ever written one.
But. And sorry if this point has already been made. I did think Moonrise Kingdom was one of the best movies I’ve ever seen about the gulf that persists between adults and children. Even when the adults try their hardest to relate to the children around them, they can’t. They’ve forgotten how.
The saddest scene in the movie (for me) came when Scout Master Ward sits down in the boat next to young Sam Shakusky, who had run away earlier, and apologizes for not realizing that Sam was an orphan. “I didn’t know your situation,” Ward says. “It wasn’t in the register.” Says it as if that was the key to understanding Sam’s inner life—as if this biographical tidbit was the clue he’d been missing all along. But it’s not. The fact that Sam’s an orphan is one of the least relevant things about him. It’s just something that adults insist is important.
Which sets up a perfect counterpoint in Captain Sharp, who takes Sam in for the night and realizes he’s probably not well-equipped to impart much wisdom. “Let’s face it,” Sharp tells the precocious twelve-year-old, “you’re probably a much more intelligent person than I am.” All adults can ever do, Sharp explains, is protect kids from their most dangerous mistakes. And not much more. When he tries to give Sam some advice on love and relationships, Sam gently points out that Sharp himself is still a bachelor.
At which point all the island police officer can do is pour the kid another slug of beer. Because what can anyone tell anyone else about life, really. And what good is all the experience adults accumulate except to see that there’s no end to the novel ways in which people can fuck things up.
Now let’s all peel our thumbnails back.