Sam corresponded with Suzy as a pen pal for some time — both have serious problems. Sam’s parents recently died and his foster parents refuse his return. The rest of the Khaki Scouts suspect Sam may suffer from a mental illness — they keep an eye on him while packing weapons. Suzy’s parents (brilliantly played by Bill Murray and Frances McDormand) have lost touch with Suzy (as well as each other). In addition to the detachment from her parents, Suzy suffers from uncontrollable fits of anger. A cute love story builds as we see how Sam and Suzy manage to balance each other out.
Both children are running from shaky backgrounds in hopes of finding stability elsewhere. Sam leaves the summer camp while Suzy escapes her deceptively stable household. Here we see a combination of genres, the summer camp film (Sam leaving camp) with the family melodrama (Suzy fleeing family issues). Mix that with a bit of adventure and a never-ending supply of quirky characters from the mind of Wes Anderson and you’ve got a good idea of what is going on here. Constantly on the move both physically and psychologically, each character keeps the narrative flowing. There really are not many stable relationships on the island, which makes Sam and Suzy’s quest a unique one.