A story, within a story, within a story, of a young man’s eccentric father figure who taught him everything he knows.
Review (with Spoilers)
Let it be noted I have only seen Darjeeling Limited and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou when it comes to Wes Anderson’s movies and each one contains this weird sort of oddness which you so badly want to associate with someone, but can’t fully. Like, for me, I want to say some of the comedy feels Marx Brothers inspired, sans Harpo, but then that isn’t really right. And at the same time I want to say the quirkiness feels like a something Woody Allen would produce, but the characters are too interesting to be part of a Woody Allen movie, so this film can truly only be described as a Wes Anderson original which is very hard to exactly compare.
Characters & Story
At the heart of the story, we learn about the life of Mr. Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham) during his younger years when he was simply known as Zero (Tony Revolori), a lobby boy for The Grand Budapest Hotel during the time when M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) was concierge. His tale is laced with romance, filled with drama, and a bit of heartbreak too.
The romance deals with his love for Agatha (Saoirse Ronan), and Gustave’s love for old women; the drama deals with when one of Gustave’s admirers Madame D (Tilda Swinton). dies and bestows something to him which angers her children, but none more than Dmitri (Adrien Brody) who with the help of his man for hire Jopling (Willem Dafoe), seems to do everything possible so that not only would Dmitri and his sisters would gain the entire fortune, but erase anyone who could stop them.
As for the heartbreak, I’ll leave that for you to witness.
I don’t think it would be too far fetch to say that Wes Anderson, thus far, hasn’t made a lot of movies which could be considered mainstream. However, I think this film could have a bit of universal appeal, and not just because the actors Anderson uses have increasingly been more and more famous since he has last worked with them. Part of the reason I think this has mainstream appeal is because it is very comical. Gustave is a highly likable character who Fiennes plays so wonderfully that I’d hope he at least get a Golden Globe nomination next year. Alongside that, the story, after you get past it being a story, within a story, within a story, is quite entertaining. Be it Gustave’s hijinks as he steals a painting and escapes prison; Gustave and Zero’s relationship which is noted to be a brotherhood, but more so comes off like a father and son type relationship; or the dozens of characters which each have distinct personalities which make it so none of them fully leave your memory when all is said and done. To me, though the tried and true fans may say his other works maybe better, this one is the best to me, so far.
When it comes to criticism though, thinking about the movie as a whole, I can’t really say there is any glaring issue. If anything, my issue was the fact I had to travel far to see this, but that is more a personal issue than anything dealing with the film.
Overall: Worth Seeing
Though not overtly funny, it is because it isn’t trying to make up for a weak story by having over the top comedy. This film has moments which will at the very least make most smile, and for some make them laugh out loud. Combine that with a touching relationship between lobby boy and concierge, and the movie feeling strangely short, you will be left with fond memories and may even want to see this again for the dialogue was very quotable and well written. Hence why I say this is worth seeing.