Objects of Moonrise Kingdom

I have this whole thing about “things”. Objects as symbols, talismans, totems, meaningful stand-ins for some other narrative. It is a childlike point of view, perhaps: children get attached to specific blankets, toys, objects. But adults certainly retain it, although it morphs into something else, sometimes an attitude that seems materialistic. But it’s really the same thing. Objects are not casual, especially not seen through the filter of memory.




















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22 Responses to Objects of Moonrise Kingdom

  1. Objects are magical! At least when we make them ours, whether momentarily or for a stretch. And they persist, long after we do. I think that’s why I hate to throw stuff away. I wish my mother hadn’t been so neat; I covet those lost objects. It’s a kind of greed, I guess.

    • sheila says:

      Jincy – I love to hear that you love objects, too, and I am also not surprised – I think writers often have a very deep attachment to objects and what they can signify.

      They are emotional and magical!! I hate to throw stuff away too.

  2. Objects in memory are obviously very dear to Anderson. I bet you could easily have found 25 more of these, Sheila.

    Of course, the “Coping with the Very Troubled Child” book cover is an homage to Saul Bass’ poster/title art for Preminger’s BONJOUR TRISTESSE.

    • sheila says:

      I love Wes Anderson’s book titles/cover art – there’s a ton of it in Royal Tenenbaums, but they’re so carefully designed – so funny and perfect. I come from a book-loving book-collecting family. These books look real.

      • Yes – they could easily pass for the books I recall lining the shelves of my elementary school’s library, or the “young reader” section of the public library in the 70s and early 80s (though I know the film is set in ’65).

        Off topic, but not off from my comment – I would LOVE to read your thoughts on BONJOUR TRISTESSE someday.

        • sheila says:

          Haven’t seen it.

          and yeah: the book designs are old-school, not modern at all!

          • sheila says:

            and I know I’ve mentioned this – but Moonrise Kingdom was filmed in the town I grew up in. So the nostalgia levels are just huge!

  3. sheila says:

    And yes, once I started looking for shots of objects – alone in the frame – with no person in them (at least not a full person) – it soon became overwhelming. I love his focus on objects.

  4. sheila says:

    Here’s another “objects” piece I did. http://www.sheilaomalley.com/?p=8288

  5. I think for him these are talismans – they unlock certain key emotions, memories, et al. Even though the objects in his films are made up, they are based on things from the past. It’s not just fussiness or being artsy-fartsy.

  6. I wonder if it’s unusual for middle and upper class kids to have personalized stationary nowadays. It was always a given to me as a gift by my mother or grandparents. I was never thrilled to unwrap it, I’ll admit, but I like that it was there.

    • sheila says:

      I know, so grown-up! And of course it is then understood that you WILL use the stationary to write thank-you notes in a PROMPT FASHION.

      • Oh yes…and I do enjoy getting thank you notes from my niece and nephew on their stationary. (Although I didn’t give it to them.)

        In college I didn’t promptly write my grandmother to thank her for sending me stationary. It was the only time I can ever remember my grandpa getting angry with me.

        • sheila says:

          It’s such an important lesson!!

          I love getting actual notes and actual mail, with stamps and everything. It’s such a novelty now, very exciting.

  7. sheila says:

    I also love the two paintings that act as bookends. We start with a house, her house, where she grew up, where she was a child. We end with a painting of her “moonrise kingdom”, where she made the first break from her parents, and started to come into her own as a young lady.

    It’s a profound change.

  8. mutecypher says:

    “And then I spend hundreds of dollars on books when I’m in a fugue state at 2 in the morning.”

    I got a kick out of stumbling upon that in your “I Have This Thing about Things” from back in ’08 after reading your post about Ecstasy.

    I tell myself it’s not a fugue state, it’s the real me uninhibited by thoughts of payment. See if that works.

  9. Brendan says:

    Boy, I love this movie. I love all his movies, actually. Even Steve Zissou which even Anderson fans seem to hate. Sheil, to me they are very akin to Cornell boxes in which the way form and color play off of each other in mysterious ways! Have you seen The Fantastic Mr. Fox? It is, ahem, fantastic.

    • sheila says:

      Bren – totally Cornell boxes! I love them all – not as crazy about Bottle Rocket – but you can see him reaching towards a certain kind of nostalgia/kindness there that he would end up developing.

      I love Life Aquatic and love Fantastic Mr. Fox!!


  10. Kate Poulter says:

    Objects really can be like talismans, giving protection or sparking memories. In my case, I am on a type of subconscious quest to fill the shelves of the library where I work with a copy of all the books I can remember loving and reading again and again as a child. Then, when I acquire each new addition to that long list, I promptly share it with a child so the love for that particular book will continue into this generation.


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