Analysis of Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom as an Example of a Bildungsroman Movie

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About this sample


Words: 974 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Aug 6, 2021

Words: 974|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Aug 6, 2021

Genre is the classification of arts, music, literature or film into different categories based on the codes and conventions that they follow. The genre of a movie often indicates to the audience the type of film and the general emotional response that can be expected. Genre consists of certain elements, such as the characters, story, plot and the setting; which are used to determine the class of the film. Filmmakers and directors choose a genre for the film to find a potential audience as fast as possible in order to increase overall sales. Some common genres include comedy, action, horror, sci-fi, romance and many more. Often these genres cross with each other, as a film usually fits into multiple categories, such as romantic comedies or sci-fi thriller movies. Many of these genres are very broad, such as comedy, which branches off into many different forms of comedy, such as slapstick, satire or farce. Filmmakers also have different intentions for some movies over others. For example, sci-fi movies are extremely popular all over the globe but are rarely in the running for awards (i.e. Avengers: Endgame). Avengers: Endgame is the most-watched film of all time, but it most likely will not win an Oscar for it. Instead, the awards generally go towards well-crafted melodramatic films such as Dunkirk (2018).

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The “Coming-of-Age” or sometimes known as the “Bildungsroman” genre contains many key characteristics that are easily recognizable when watching one of these films. The focus of these movies is the physical and moral growth of the main character(s) over the course of the film. Most of the time, the character is transitioning from youth to adulthood, either literally or mentally. Each Bildungsroman film has a set structure that they will usually adhere to. At the beginning of the films, the characters already have the impression that the world is not a happy or safe place. Generally, this is due to an event that happened prior to the beginning of the story, which is revealed afterwards in the film. Once the character has been introduced, an event will happen that makes life even harder for them, resulting in motivation to pursue their goals. It is the pursuit of these goals where the transformation of the character occurs. On this journey, the character will realise that they no longer have the support that they once used to and that they are now alone in the world. This realization equips the main character with the courage to face their problems rather than turning away from them.

An example of a Bildungsroman movie is the 2012 Wes Anderson film, Moonrise Kingdom. The story is about a young orphan named Sam Shakusky, who was sent Camp Ivanhoe by his foster parents. He does not feel like he has a specific role or place in the world until he meets a young girl named Suzy. She is another introvert who does not feel she belongs in her family. The plot of the film is the running away together that they had previously devised through handwritten letters to one another. It is on this journey that the two experience their transition from youth to adulthood. Moonrise Kingdom follows nearly all the needed Bildungsroman conventions. For example, at the beginning of the film, both Sam and Suzy are innocent and pure, although unhappy with the current world that they live in. They do not enjoy their lives as they are, both unhappy with the state of their families. They eventually decide that they can’t live like this any longer, so they run away. This is the part of the ‘Coming of Age’ film where the characters pursue their goals and while doing so, realise just how independent they must be, as well as how much they needed to rely on each other. By the end of the movie, they have matured much more, and stand up to their parents about letting them stay together. Unlike many films, where the children are very naïve, both Sam and Suzy were mature from the start of the film, as for the most part, they were more reasonable than the adult characters featured in the movie.

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Some people consider Wes Anderson’s films to be exaggerated or ‘elevated’ examples of their respective genres. Anderson is known for influencing his films with his own style so much that he is known as an auteur. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, an auteur is “a film director that influences their films so much that they rank as their author.” This is especially true for Wes Anderson, as he is known for having a very distinct style that he applies to all his films, including Moonrise Kingdom. At the age of eight years old, Anderson’s parents divorced. He considers this to be one of the few defining moments in his lifetime, and this is evident through his works. Many of his films are primarily about families, and more specifically, dysfunctional ones. Relating to his personal experiences, his films generally focus on parenthood and the lack of role-model figures for the characters to look up to. For example, in Moonrise Kingdom, this idea is explored through the families of both Sam and Suzy, with Sam being an orphan and Suzy not feeling like she belongs in her family. In many of Wes Anderson’s films, the parents of the characters are not directly involved in the story, and instead there is a mother or father figure that the character instead looks up to. As family is an important part of these films, Anderson stresses the importance of having friends, family and love in your life, and that those are the most important things you can wish for. Focusing on the love aspect of his films, many of the exhibited friendships evolve over time into a romance, as can be seen between Sam and Suzy in Moonrise Kingdom. 

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Analysis Of Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom As An Example Of A Bildungsroman Movie. (2021, August 06). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 20, 2024, from
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