“I can’t argue against anything you’re saying. But then again, I don’t have to, ’cause you’re 12 years old. Look, let’s face it, you’re probably a much more intelligent person than I am. In fact, I guarantee it. But even smart kids stick their finger in electrical sockets sometimes. It takes time to figure things out. It’s been proven by history. All mankind makes mistakes. It’s our job to try to protect you from making the dangerous ones, if we can.” -Captain Sharp
Jared Gillman and Kara Hayward were twelve when they starred in Moonrise Kingdom. I, on the other hand, was still trying to live out my lifelong dream of becoming an astronaut when I was twelve. I just like to imagine them going back to school and having a kid they’ve never met ask, “What are you into?” I can only assume they would remark, “Making Wes Anderson movies great, that’s what!”
Sam (Jared Gillman) is a boy scout, but not in the analogous sense– he is a literal boy scout. He is full of quirk and oddity. I like to think he’s a man out of time, an easily angered adult in a young boy’s body. He does not fit in anywhere, least of all in the homes he has been passed between. As an orphan seeking a family, he meets Suzy (Kara Hayward). Suzy is a reader. I think that’s the best way to describe her really. She is kind, motherly, and full of intentionality, but most of all, she sees. They make quite the pair; Suzy reads the brilliance in Sam, while he finds the beauty in her.
The two of them fumble through the awkwardness of companionship, love, and marriage, on their way to discovering a stark reality; that they are indeed twelve and, according to society, don’t get to make big decisions like that. No, no, no, you must abide by the decisions of someone older, wiser, and filled with cynicism. Let’s allow the cuckold of a father (Bill Murray) and cheating wife (Frances McDormand) make decisions for their young, naïve daughter. All of the adults in this story mean well, but at the end of the day, most of them struggle to believe, even for a second, that these children might have more of a grip on reality than they do.
Christ was clear in his ministry about how we should view our faith:
And (he) said: “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” -Matthew 18:2-4
Of course, I don’t think Christ was advocating for our children to be able to get married at the age of twelve, but I feel his words clearly are calling us to be humble and admit when we may not have all the answers. And maybe we should be willing to follow someone else who does.
They’re odd kids, but it’s because they’re adults, really. You’re not meant to see them as small children fumbling through life, we’re meant to view them as adults, whose decisions and ideas are constantly stunted by the views and opinions of all the other adults around them. Sam is constantly berated and judged by his peers for being different right up until the point that his peers all realize how awful they’ve been. The fact sits with them just long enough for them to flip sides completely and proceed to do everything they can to bust Sam and Suzy out of their confines and take them wherever they want to go.
These revelations point to Moonrise Kingdom actually being a picture of our reality.