04 March 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel

GPOY - Waiting outside of the Music Box in the snow edition
On Saturday, we anxiously waited in line outside of the Music Box Theater in 20 degree snowy weather, not because we were lunatics, but because we wanted to attend the VIP sneak preview of The Grand Budapest Hotel and see Wes Anderson in person! It was cold, I mean really cold. I was one of the lucky few to nab an RSVP to this impossible-to-get-into event, and while I hated the way my toes felt after an hour and a half of jumping from foot to foot in the cold, I'd say some icy toes were an even trade to be in the same room as Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola, and Tony Revolori, the boy wonder of this film. We killed time sipping chai from Julius Meinl, making up games, trying to read each others' minds, and befriending everyone else in line with us. It was an awesome experience to share with a crowd of Wes Anderson devotees, and I will not soon forget it.

The movie was wonderful, and as rich and colorful as one might expect from Anderson. What differentiated this film from the rest of his oeuvre was the darkness of the story and some of the gruesome moments that caught me off guard. No spoilers, I promise. I will just say that seeing a gory decapitated head and little nubby cut-off fingers was shocking and surprising, adding an element of thrill and horror to the film that was lightened by humor, wit, and beautiful editing. 

What I loved about this film was that Anderson decided, much like he did with the Darjeeling Limited, that he would base his film around a location and moment in time, imbuing the story with the very nature of its surroundings. In prepping for the film, he visited Germany and Budapest, and shot a majority of the movie on site (aside from the adorable animated / sculpted moments). The whole movie was true to the Wes Anderson Universe, but steeped in a different era of nostalgia than so many of his other films take place. 

Was it my favorite Anderson film? Not entirely, but it still invited me to visit his magical mind, basking in the richness of texture and color, allowing me to hunt for details and common threads in all of his films, as if to unlock so mystery of the characters and stories he so lovingly weaves for my viewing pleasure.

Wes, you did it again! Bravo, darling, bravo!


  1. It looks so good! Which Wes Anderson movie is your favorite?


    1. The Darjeeling Limited! So many people love to hate it (after the Fantastic Mr. Fox), but TDL spoke to me in ways I can't quite comprehend. The color, the heat, India, the romanticism of trains, sibling rivalries, all of it just moved me to my core. I thought the cast was outstanding, and I felt the Anderson showed such signs of restraint and respect with regard to the Indian culture he portrayed in the film. I could watch it over and over, and always feel moved.

      How about you? Do you have a fave?

      Also, what'd you think of Hump Tour!?!!