First off, shame on me! It’s been too long since I’ve blogged and I swore to myself I wouldn’t do that. But, life happens and now I’m making time to catch up. I was fortunate enough to win tickets to a prescreening of the Grand Budapest Hotel LAST TUESDAY but here I am, finally getting around to talking about it.
The title is as quirky as any Wes Anderson movie should be… and I’ve heard it called “the new Wes Anderson movie” more often than by its actual title, in fact I’ve been guilty of this myself. And on that point, I think most movie lovers are either huge fans of his work or avoid it at all costs. I’d like to think The Grand Budapest Hotel is a fun and wonderful time for viewers on both sides of the spectrum. This 100 minute movie is nonstop fun, a pure delight, with a lot of heart.
The movie follows M. Gustave, played brilliantly by The Dark Lord himself… I mean Ralph Fiennes, as a hotel concierge with a reputation for pure excellence and, well, other things (no spoilers here!) He is then joined by the new lobby boy, Zero, played by newcomer Tony Revolori. The relationship they have as mentor and protege truly carries the heart of this film. Any anti-fans of Anderson’s work might argue that his stories are pointless and unrealistic. And yes, his work is always quirky and over-the-top, but the relationship between Gustave and Zero is very real, relatable, and kind of adorable.
From the very beginning, you are engulfed in a hotel of bright pinks and purples, and a little hesitance on laughing about it or not, but that’s exactly the point. The detail work found in this film may very well be the best in Anderson’s career. And what first begins in a hotel quickly becomes an adventure movie all across Europe during WWII. I can’t even imagine how much money was spent on the production design of this movie, but I couldn’t be happier about it, and that’s one of the biggest reasons I love his movies so much. Every single shot is so detail oriented, well done, and stunning… it’s almost distracting. Fortunately, the movie also has delightful characters, a brilliant cast (with the typical Anderson-crew cameos of course,) and a wonderful story.
All in all, this movie made me laugh a lot and gasp a few times (it’s rated R!) But I left with a skip in my step (or a Wes Anderson styled march) and a smile on my face… and isn’t that the point of going to the movies? Wes Anderson uses film to make art, tell a story, and entertain… and the Grand Budapest Hotel has done all of these things wonderfully.
- Most Awesome Quote: “Keep your hands off my lobby boy!”
- Most Memorable Scene: A chase that looks straight out of the Winter Olympics
- Hidden Gem: Saoirse Ronan as Agatha
- Biggest Surprise: Tilda Swinton… is that you?! And holy shit Willem Dafoe…
- Filmmaking Fun Fact: Wes Anderson used miniatures for most of his wide shots (am I butchering terms here?), but filmed them outdoors in natural lighting… the effect is like nothing I’ve seen before!
- Worth Seeing in Theaters: ABSOLUTELY
- Worth Buying: DEFINITELY
Overall Score: *****