Album Review: Moonrise Kingdom (Original Soundtrack)

on Thursday, May 31, 2012
'Moonrise Kingdom (Original Soundtrack)' (UK Release: 21 May '12) // Words: Alicia McBride

Much as 'Moonrise Kingdom' is everything that defines Wes Anderson distilled into a palate pleasing shot of sugary whimsy and quirk, the soundtrack is a classic Anderson compilation of 50s rock and roll and classical music with a trademark French track nestled in for extra flavour.

This time round, Anderson exercises his Francophilia with the standout track from the film, Francoise Hardy’s 'Le Temps de L’Amour'. Soundtracking the blossoming love affair between Sam and Suzy and their burgeoning physical relationship, the track cleverly anchors the film in the right era as well as perfectly embodying youth’s first flirtation with more adult and sophisticated culture.

As Sam and Suzy leave home to expand their horizons so their cultural horizons widen. It is a typically teenage thing to explore growing maturity through explicit music and, given these are quirky Anderson teens, what cooler, sexier way to do it than in French?

The song’s memorability and impact on the viewer is matched only by the film’s opening track, Leonard Bernstein’s 'The Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra, Op. 34: Themes A-F'. Here a child guides the listener through the separate parts that make up a piece by Benjamin Britten, introducing layer upon layer of sound.

While it may be an obvious metaphor for the different elements of the film all coming together by the end, Bernstein's offering is a suitably dramatic piece of music used to great effect in the trailer and on the closing credits (listen carefully for a few special changes to the child’s part). It also places the viewer in a child’s world and introduces the need for a child’s understanding of the events that unfold.

The soundtrack sees Wes Anderson partner up with famed film composer Alexandre Desplat again, after their work together on 'Fantastic Mr Fox'. In much the same vein, Desplat’s compositions are magical, whimsical pieces that are exciting and joyous and dramatic, sometimes all at once. They complete Anderson’s world beautifully.

★★★★ (4/5)

'Moonrise Kingdom (Original Soundtrack)' is out now and available to purchase from

msn spaces tracker