Brief Reviews: The Grand Budapest Hotel

January 23rd, 2015, 10pm

It was 13°C with few clouds. The breeze was gentle.

If you’ve considered seeing The Grand Budapest Hotel, I would highly recommend you add it to your must-watch list — you don’t have to watch it right away, but I think you’ll enjoy it if you do.

That’s not to say that I believe “everyone should love Wes Anderson movies” or some such nonsense; I generally feel that as with all art mediums, everyone has preferences for film, and not everyone may love Wes Anderson’s hip, symmetric, whimsical film style (though I am personally loving it more with each film he makes). It’s just that I believe The Grand Budapest Hotel is his most accessible movie yet, and it doesn’t surprise me at all that it’s therefore his most critically acclaimed movie. With nine Academy nominations (Picture, Director, Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, Costume Design, Hairstyling and Makeup, Original Score, and Original Screenplay), I feel like there’s an implicit hat-tip being given, as though they’re saying, you’ve finally hit your stride, and we like what we’re seeing.

I’m actually surprised I didn’t write a review for The Grand Budapest Hotel in mid-2014, when I saw it in theaters. I loved it then, and watching it again, I was even more entranced: I think Ralph Fiennes is absolutely brilliant as the charming Monsieur Gustav, and has such a great connection with Tony Revolori (Zero the younger). I laughed repeatedly at the antics of this movie—I’m not sure if it’s a particularly dry kind of humor, but there are quips and one-liners sprinkled throughout the film that are absolutely delightful if you approach this movie as though it’s a mostly-comedy.

Naturally, I should comment on the directing, the cinematography, the editing, and so on, since that’s what it’s nominated for. On its own, I find the movie to be a flawless expression of mixed media: with practical effects and some of the most beautiful sets I think we’ve seen (or will see, as is the case for most of the films nominated), Wes Anderson laid the stage for a great movie: the actors simply had to step in front of the camera, and the foundation was so strong that the rest just fell into place.

I will admit that though I loved The Grand Budapest Hotel, I didn’t expect it to get as many nominations as it did. I’m totally pleased though; it suggests my personal film preferences aren’t as biased or tasteless as I’ve been lead to believe. I’m not sure it will sweep all categories it’s nominated for, but I’m confident it will win a few.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is an immersive and enjoyable film experience. There is drama and tension built into the plot, but on the whole it’s a light-hearted romp helmed by a visionary director (I mean, who doesn’t recognize Wes Anderson’s style?) and championed by Ralph Fiennes in an all-time favorite role. Definitely must see.

David Wade and david said thanks.

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Valerie Stimac

Constraints create lots of great things, diamonds and creativity among them.

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