Ralph Fiennes as M. Gustave and Tony Revolori as Zero in The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Ralph Fiennes as M. Gustave and Tony Revolori as Zero in The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Tilda Swinton behind the scenes of The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Tilda Swinton behind the scenes of The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Details

See also
- Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel: A Marzipan Monstrosity by Stephanie Zacharek.

- The Grand Budapest Hotel Is Wes Anderson's Most Mature and Visually Witty Effort by Amy Nicholson.

- Behind the Scenes of The Grand Budapest Hotel

- The Wes Anderson-Bill Murray Connection



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Hotel Chevalier is only 13 minutes long, but it's as rich as a novel. The atmosphere is controlled -- practically the whole thing takes place in a hotel room and its adjoining balcony -- but Anderson lets danger and mystery in, more so than in any of his other movies. Hotel Chevalier is less a pure Wes Anderson film than a zephyr of Truffaut being channeled through Anderson; Schwartzman is his Antoine Doinel, a bundle of nerves in search of love in spite of himself. Anyone who can make a Hotel Chevalier must still have some surprises up his sleeve. Someday Wes Anderson might use his technical mastery, his sense of total control, to make a live-action movie that shows how little in life any of us can really control. It will be an adventure; it will be dangerous. And it will breathe.


Follow Stephanie Zacharek on Twitter at @szacharek
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42 comments
strayworks
strayworks

I found your article by searching "why do so many people have a hard time understanding wes anderson movies" I thought you were just in-educated in artistic film-making until I realized the article was written by a female. 

 I then immediately understood why you only like fantastic mr. fox. That one was basically for kids. And Hotel Chavalier was a short. Stereotypically girls and kids like films to be short, sweet, romantic and spoon-fed. You liked HOTEL CHAVALIER because it was a simple love story and you didn't have to actually THINK to understand. I bet you get really moved by music videos, and I mean that with love. In fact females are so much better at love it makes me sick.

I do know a few females who like real Wes Anderson movies and they are also sarcastic comedians by nature. As far as wishing Wes would change his style to give them more life? You have never been more wrong. So many love his films because they ARE beautiful talking photographs. You also have to love dark humor...  If you do not think it is a funny premise that a group of Scouts go looking for a rogue Scout  armed to the teeth with brutal weapons (just like kids pretend to do in real life) than go watch whatever reboot hollywood is crapping out next. His films are not perfect but they are filled with deep thought and emotion. Oh and they are truly beautiful to look at. Just like woman. Cheers!

FindTrueGenius
FindTrueGenius

My first issue with Wes Anderson is his fear of real emotions. He continually stamps out all emotion, until his characters are flat cardboard cutouts. Then any little flash of emotion is treated like a huge deal. Truth is, emotion is critical to life, and stamping out all emotion makes the films lifeless, dull and boring.  My second issue is his hatred of authority figures - it's always the juvenile characters who call the shots, have the ideas, rule the roost or lair or den - just like the Disney channel. So may be you have to be 13 to find the "wisdom" in his stuff, but thankfully the majority of us are smarter than that. Anderson has invented a good gig for himself, working out his therapy homework, his issues with emotions and authority to the tune of other people's millions and trying to call it "films" or "art" or "whimsy" but he's the true emperor with no clothes. There's nothing genius or even interesting about the Anderson "films" -  we really should call them "Viewmaster filmstrips" because they are that lifeless - and anything on Turner Classic Movies has this stuff beat by a million miles. The genius is in tricking the gullible into thinking it's worth watching - that's the real story about Anderson that needs to be told. How is he fooling the few who think he's great? Where's that shell game playing out? It's not based in reality, so what brain circuits is he triggering in the few that make the many go looking for glory in Anderson's work, and always come away disappointed?

cjam
cjam

@anissegross very mixed reactions to the new one. Kind of want to see it just for that reason.

Anon
Anon

Nothing raises the hackles of a nation of mediocrities quite like the daunting artistry of a master. Same critiques were levelled at Kubrick. Anderson's hyper-artificial movies are the perfect movies for a hyper-artificial culture. That he treats his movie worlds like a novelist is something to be commended, not attacked. We should have more directors who give a shit like he does.

cafelinus
cafelinus

I like some of that guy's movies just fine but I'm trying to love myself. Do you have any advice?

NamraTurnip
NamraTurnip

@thehighsign we Rushmore fans have gotta stick together. We're building a salt tear sluice for when the great B. Murray dies. Join us

thehighsign
thehighsign

@NamraTurnip Please do not even float the concept of B. Murray dying! Way too soon, & too upsetting to contemplate. But yes, Rushmore 4ever.

NamraTurnip
NamraTurnip

@thehighsign Man, there is no too soon. I remember seeing Murray as a reimagined Scrooge in, I dunno, 1991? Earlier still in Stripes.

NamraTurnip
NamraTurnip

@thehighsign This is extremely irresponsible. I'm just yacking. I've no idea what goes on. Say hi to Julia! (swan dives into laundry chute)

NamraTurnip
NamraTurnip

@thehighsign Oh, and I apologize for everything. And ffs, La Thingie Bellezza was good. But, ermm. You should renounce it. Hassle!!!

mimbale
mimbale

@flipyourface oh wow, she likes the only two Andersons I dislike or hate. I wonder how that works exactly? (I like "'Aha!' or perhaps 'Oho'"

flipyourface
flipyourface

@mimbale I gotcha. But after reading David Thomson's disgraceful business, I'm grateful for a piece that shows engagement and some humility.

mimbale
mimbale

@flipyourface It's good. (I didn't read DT's.) But I really wonder what's going on. We must be reacting to the same exact things oppositely.

MSethStewart
MSethStewart

@flipyourface ah ok I see, that pastry on a tin plate metaphor is definitely tacky. The rest of it was spot-on.

DecentFilms
DecentFilms

@jedpressfate Was only guessing. Should've gone with first thought & just written, "I'm not sure what you mean by 'not a critique." Cheers.

cconnolly
cconnolly

Once again, Stephanie Zacharek nails something perfectly and I couldn't agree with her more about Anderson. 


It's undeniable that Anderson is an intelligent, thoughtful film maker and like Zacharek states, there are way too few of these around nowadays. But Anderson's attention to detail is annoying. He's too carried away by his own sense of whimsy and too busy trying to make us aware of it that his films (to me) feel cold, calculated and emotionally distant. I get the same feeling (in a different way) from most of the films made by Ken Russell, another director who put his style ahead of story telling and character. Actors probably love working with him because they think his films are "different" and cutting edge and that's why I think a lot of people (mostly much younger than me) fall for his films as well. I don't think he's really that original at all. He's studied film and film makers and copies a lot of other directors styles (especially the late, great Hal Ashby. Anderson's "Rushmore" should have been labeled a homage to Ashby, so blatant was his ripping off of his visual style).

CHN_AdamWodon
CHN_AdamWodon

@szacharek great analysis Stephanie - but I can't help but love (most of) his movies. I find myself reveling in his quirks, not annoyed

 

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