I've never figured out why Bill Murray's character tries to chop down a tree in Moonrise Kingdom. Is he hoping it will fall on the house? Does he just want to destroy something?

  • The latter, I reckon.
    – Walt
    Commented Feb 7, 2015 at 17:22
  • Maybe ... His wife and kids don't respect him, so he wants to do something "manly". Commented Feb 7, 2015 at 20:23
  • Because it's a quirky thing to say. And that's what makes a Wes Anderson film a Wes Anderson film.
    – DA.
    Commented Feb 7, 2015 at 23:30

2 Answers 2


Though it was never fully explained (and likely left on the cuttingroom floor), I thought the obvious answer is that he was taking out frustration while getting sedated with wine.

It was my impression, though not explicitly stated in the movie, that Murray's character was a victim of physical abuse. As such, it would make sense that he would need to vent on some other physical object, namely the tree.

  • 4
    "Murray's character was a victim of physical abuse" = I'm curious as to where that impression comes from.
    – DA.
    Commented Feb 8, 2015 at 21:37
  • @DA. At one point in the film his wife apologizes for inflicting injuries on him. Plus he kind of knows she is cheating on him, so another reason for being in bad mood.
    – jahu
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 18:27

let's not try to get all artsy just because it's a Wes Anderson movie. his character has a lot going on with his daughter and suspicions of his wife cheating so he's taking it out on a tree and drinking over it. Came here looking for a screenshot of Murray sitting against the partially chopped tree. Any chance someone has it?

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