Moonrise Kingdom

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Moonrise Kingdom Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Typically quirky Wes Anderson dramedy has lots of heart.
  • PG-13
  • 2012
  • 94 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 16 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 64 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Amid some characters' iffy choices and behavior are messages about the importance of marching to the beat of your own drummer. Also, that adolescence is tough, especially when the grown-ups around you haven't figured out their own lives. But a true friendship helps ease the journey.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Yes, they're rebellious and not particularly concerned about others' feelings, but Sam and Suzy are interesting, unique, strong-willed young people who've found an ability to care -- at least about each other. Suzy's parents, on the other hand, have lost in touch with that skill. The movie's other main adult characters generally have good intentions, even if they don't always make the best choices. Kids are both cruel and loyal, depending on circumstances.


A tween stabs another with a pair of scissors (the aftermath is shown, but not the incident itself). While hunting down a runaway, characters arm themselves with makeshift clubs, axes, air guns, and the like. People scream at each other, and one character sports a black eye. A cabin explodes while a man is in it; also, a child is shown being hit by lightning. A dog is killed by a wayward arrow.


Two 12-year-olds kiss (with and without tongue), feel each other up while clad in only their underwear, and discuss the feel of an erection. A married woman cheats on her husband, though she's not shown doing anything with her lover besides holding his hand. She's also shown topless very briefly in a non-sexual, non-close-up way.


Infrequent swearing includes "goddamn," "damn," "son of a bitch," "hell," and "oh my God."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Two characters smoke pretty frequently (accurate for the movie's 1960s setting), and one serves a 12-year-old beer.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Moonrise Kingdom -- a 1960s-set dramedy about two misfit tweens who run away with each other -- is, like most of director Wes Anderson's other films, atmospheric and loopy and moving: a mix that might confound younger audiences, even though the movie is about kids. Plus, the stories of their home lives are actually quite sad (one is an orphan; the other feels alone and misunderstood by her family). The young characters kiss each other, feel each other up, and are shown in their underwear. Swearing is pretty minimal ("hell," etc.), but there's some period-accurate smoking, and one 12-year-old character is served beer by an adult.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byRaggedMom July 11, 2013

Colorful, quirky and completely delightful.

This is a unique, colorful, entertaining film of adventure that is quirky and lovable. While there is subtle, early teenage sexual content, it is innocent in co... Continue reading
Adult Written bybbbbarry May 5, 2019

Terrific movie - for grown-ups

Just because it has kids *in* it doesn't mean it's a *kids'* movie. This is one of those.

•• If you hate Wes Anderson, you'll hate this.... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bymirkat June 5, 2020

Hilarious, Ironic, Sweet Film

After watching Moonrise Kingdom, my first Wes Andersen film, it quickly became my favorite movie. I mean the character development and cinematography is amazing... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old June 5, 2020


This movie is awesome! I think this is a perfect family movie. It's action packed and humorous. There is a little inapropriate stuff but you can learn fro... Continue reading

What's the story?

From the moment they set eyes on each other -- during a 1964 church pageant where she was dressed as a raven on Noah's ark and he was in a furry hat and khaki scout uniform -- Suzy (Kara Hayward) and Sam (Jared Gilman) knew they were made for each other. Suzy's parents think she's a "troubled" child; Sam lives in a foster home with "parents" who barely foster him. But in each other, they find a soulmate -- or at least a best friend -- and Suzy asks Sam to write to her. A year later, they decide to run away together to a special cove they christen Moonrise Kingdom, setting off a search party that includes Suzy's unhappily married parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand), the lonely police chief (Bruce Willis), and a hapless, earnest khaki scout leader (Edward Norton).

Is it any good?

MOONRISE KINGDOM is precious. It's also almost stiflingly stylized, an elliptical concoction with odd characters and peculiar storylines and overly, specifically gorgeous set design that strains the senses. But it still shines like a well-cut gem, with delicate layers and exquisite characters that live in a world you've never seen before but don't mind visiting and a plot that sneaks up on you with quiet heartbreak.

The two young leads, Hayward and Gilman, are keepers; they're so unaffected that they're effective -- they seem like real people asking hard questions and struggling to connect and be grounded in a world in which adults are moorless. They're each other's match in the funky ark meant to survive this rain-soaked world experiencing its own flood. Anderson is an auteur. To see his films is to give yourself over to his singular, sometimes claustrophobic vision. But with Moonrise Kingdom, surrendering to Andersonland is a pleasure. Don't think about it too much; allow yourself to be engulfed.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what Moonrise Kingdom is saying about the adults in these children's lives. Why do they seem so hapless? Are any of them role models?

  • Are Wes Anderson's movies funny, sad, or both. Why? How is his style of comedy different from other filmmakers'? How is this movie similar to and different from his other films?

  • Why are Sam and Suzy drawn to each other? What do they offer each other? Do they seem like real 12-year-olds?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love offbeat movies

Themes & Topics

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