Moonrise Kingdom Movie Poster Image

Moonrise Kingdom



Typically quirky Wes Anderson dramedy has lots of heart.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 94 minutes

What parents need to know

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

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."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

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

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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:May 25, 2012
DVD/Streaming release date:October 16, 2012
Cast:Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward
Director:Wes Anderson
Studio:Focus Features
Topics:Friendship, Misfits and underdogs
Run time:94 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:sexual content and smoking

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Parent Written byspulling July 2, 2012

Good intro to 'first love' and sophisticated humor for tweens and up

For mature 12 year olds and up. Hysterically funny. Very mild underwear scene. First love is between two highly intelligent misfits who have no other friends. One scene to discuss in advance - a dog is accidentally killed in a Monty Python-esque scene which feels a little strange to laugh at. Our mature 12 year old daughter laughed all the way through, as did the entire theater audience. Not slapstick - just pure sophisticated humor that is a little off of center, but in no way offensive.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 15 years old Written byclassygirl14 June 18, 2012

Moonrise Kingdom: 5 Stars!

I LOVED this movie. Wes Anderson created a honest and whimsical storyline of two misunderstood 12 year olds who run away together in the '60s. Although the kids do feel each other up and talk about an implied erection, it's still quite tame. The main characters are so unique and funny, even though they are a bit crazy and dangerous. I think most people could relate to their feelings of being upset and misunderstood, at any age. The movie encourages being yourself and not conforming to what others want you to do. The only things that might scare kids a little bit is that one kid is stabbed with a pair of scissors and a dog is killed accidentally. I saw Moonrise Kingdom with my family and my parents loved it. Would you rather take your kids to a bad animated comedy or a quirky, true, and touching story of love, family, and courage? It's an easy decision for me.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Teen, 13 years old Written bysarahzazzle June 10, 2012


This film is a must see. Yes, some parts were awkward, but it was a very thoughtful film. Omg the troops ( u will understand what I mean after you watch the movie) were so funny! I can't think of a dull moment in this movie. WATCH IIIIIIITTTTTTTTT!
What other families should know
Too much sex