The Grand Budapest Hotel

(Wes Anderson, 2014)

alone, East Village AMC, 7/1/14

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Wes Anderson’s affectations are so well-documented at this point that watching his latest movie feels more like a confirmation than a discovery.  Yes, he really does that, we say to ourselves, nodding in the dark.  And that.  And that, too.  Has there ever been a filmmaker so willfully steeped in his own aesthetic?  Truthfully, I doubt it.  A Wes Anderson movie is a hermetic universe unto itself – a kind of cathedral of mannerism – and we enjoy it to the extent that we like spending time in Anderson’s playfully meticulous dollhouse.

And yet, at the very, very end of The Grand Budapest Hotel, as the nested flashbacks began to conclude, one by one, and as the waiters cleared the tables in the dining room of the titular hotel, I found myself feeling unexpectedly moved.  Suddenly, I had the sense that what I had been watching was not simply an elaborate puppet show, stylized within an inch of its life for the pleasure of the puppetmaster, but an evocation of real human yearnings, real human tragedies, real feeling, real stakes.  At its heart – and yes, I think it has one – The Grand Budapest Hotel is a movie about memory – and memory is always bittersweet.

Published in: on September 10, 2014 at 9:59 am  Leave a Comment