Relationship Goals I Learned From ‘Moonrise Kingdom’

Historically speaking I’ve always been into directors that have a “thing,” which is why I pretty much lost it when Moonrise Kingdom hit Netflix last month. At risk of losing my hipster cred, it was one of the last Wes Anderson movies I had yet to see, and the other week I woke up SO game for the adventure.  Bright colors, unabridged whimsy, and Bill Murray? Sign me up, please. Yet while I went in mentally prepared for all of that, I did NOT expect to get emotionally involved in the love between Suzy Bishop and Sam Shakusky. That’s right, Moonrise Kingdom’s pre-teen outlaws gave me serious #RelationshipGoals.

But ANYWAY, there’s plenty to absorb from Moonrise Kingdom and its uncharacteristically young romance. So here is everything Moonrise Kingdom taught me about love letters, eloping, and Françoise Hardy.

The best way to be close with someone is by going on a real getaway

That’s it. That’s the underlying theme.

…no, I’m going to go on the record saying that I have, on occasion, gone into hiding with a paramour without telling anyone. Sometimes you need a romantic getaway like that. Other times, you’re 12, you’re in the woods, and your boyfriend is using his very nominal Khaki Scout skills to survive. Just know the difference.

Sometimes age doesn’t negate the validity of your feelings

In any other column this would when I stress the “you’re 12” part. I’m STILL waiting to turn an age where I can take relationships seriously. Yet with Suzy and Sam, they seem to find a real solidarity in a world that doesn’t understand them. They’re maybe not entirely informed about more grown-up things like marriage or boob-grabbing, but their feelings seem awkwardly sincere.

On a related note, aesthetics lead to infatuation, communication leads to love

There’s no doubt that when Sam meets Suzy he pegs her as the cutest bird in that weird Noah’s Arc production (he really zeroes in with the “What kind of bird are you?” pick up line). But they grow to care for each other within their correspondence, their letters revealing that they speak the same language despite leading different lives. Maybe it’s because I have social wariness, but even the cutest guy is a waste on me if I can’t carry on conversations with him deep into the night.

If someone gets between you and your man, you may have to cut them (actually, please don’t?)

Or you may have to stab them in the back with lefty scissors. Actually, please strike this one from the record, I don’t want any scissor attacks on my conscience.

Even if you’re soulmates with someone, empathy can only go so far.

There’s one point in the film where Sam is lamenting being an orphan and Suzy responds that she always thought it would be  “special” to be one. Sam then gives her the biggest “um, plz” look ever and says, “I love you but you don’t know what you’re talking about.” Small detail, I know, but I was Suzy-esque as a youth (precocious, inexplicably troubled, wore a lot of peter pan collars) whereas the guys I dated always had some deep tragedy with them. The difference is that I usually had the good foresight to not say things like, “I wish my parents were divorced, then maybe MY mom would buy me a hookah for Christmas.”


And finally, you should always make time to dance in your underwear.

Being in love is more than frying fish and sucking rocks, you know?

[Image via Searchlight Pictures]

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