Adoption/Orphan Narrative in Moonrise Kingdom

Someone recently treated me to the new Wes Anderson movie Moonrise Kingdom, which apparently has been getting all kinds of raves–so that’s a bad sign already. (I’m signalling my take on the movie already; I can’t recommend it too little). And now, I’m going to shamelessly ruin most of the plot for you. Here goes:

In it, the 12-year-old protagonist, an orphan who apparently is roundly despised by his peers, runs away from a simulacrum of his Boy Scouts Troop to be with his girlfriend. In trying to arrange his return, his foster parents specifically say they can’t take him back (as I remember it, they use the word “can’t” not “won’t”). The foster father, who eventually is shown running either something like a home for boys or simply a house over-run by other foster sons, writes a letter to the protagonist, which we are treated to in the movie. Because Social Services deems the protagonist some kind of ungovernable child, he is threatened with electroshock. And some more miraculously (apparently simply by virtue of having “gotten the girl”), nearly everyone in the town starts liking him and the town sheriff elects to adopt the boy who, at the end of the movie, is dressed like a miniature policeman.

Before I fly off the handles, I want to ask us if we’ve seen it and our thoughts on this depiction of the orphan and adoption.

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One thought on “Adoption/Orphan Narrative in Moonrise Kingdom

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