What a treat! This film was delightful! Wes Anderson has done it again! The usual cast of characters; the usual quirky-adventure plot; the usual bright, off-beat color palette; the usual deadpan characters who still make us feel something. I used to have an English professor who’d go on rants about how Nicholas Sparks doesn’t write great books, but he’s successful because he’s found his schtick, his market of annoying, romantic teenage girls. Wes is someone who sticks with his schtick and DOES produce great work. We smile; we smirk; we wonder what will have next; we watch four fingers fall onto the ground and think, “Huh, I was NOT expecting that!”; we hear the words, “Did he just throw my cat out the window?” and think, “Huh, Adrien Brody just threw a cat out the window. Weird.”
The Grand Budapest Hotel– stay with me here- takes us through a tumultuous journey or love, adventure and murder. Sounds like a poorly written, amateur, unimaginative romance novel, right, but, Oh!, how imaginative and beautiful it was! The general plot line: the lobby boy (Zero) of the grand famous hotel befriends a quirky concierge (Gustave), who brings him along to ultimately steal a painting from a litter of greedy children who murdered their rich mother. Gustave is framed for the woman’s murder, Zero must help his escape prison and clear his his name, and meanwhile someone has to stop Adrien Brody, who has no moral compass. There’s a hitman who slams doors so hard fingers are ripped off, a man who has the unfortunate job of taking care of a troublesome will, and a baker who hides sharp objects in cakes to send to prisons. Does there even need to be a deeper meaning to it all? I feel like with Wes Anderson movies, what’s important is the aesthetics: how weird are the characters he created? How does the scenery look? What are the little details, the symmetry, the unique physical appearance character traits? How does it all make you feel by the end? Even though there’s plenty of murder and heads sen to brothers via snail mail and love stories cut short by disease, you leave the theater smiling and thinking about what a great story you just watched.