The fecundity of director Wes Anderson’s imagination has never been so beautifully luminous, so poignantly poetic as in this enchanting, compelling slice of nostalgia; a pecan of a world and life only treasured, experienced through the written word and a magical film. “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, influenced by the brilliant, prescient autobiography, “The World of Yesterday” by Austrian, Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) is remarkable in wrapping the viewer in the ironic escapades of “Gustave H.”, the concierge of the fictional Grand Budapest Hotel. Ralph Fiennes stellar performance is profound in gifting Gustave’s elegant demeanor, a slicing, stinging, salty tongue; as the seducer of elderly women, a thief, an escapee, he is the epitome of class, savoir faire, charm, touching hilarity graced with an occasional sprinkle of humility; aplomb under the most frustrating, frightening circumstances. Gustave is a Renaissance man, living in and loving a world on the brink of annihilation; Europe in the early 1930’s.
Told in a series of flashbacks (1960’s) by ageing proprietor, “ M. Moustafa” (refined, sensitive depiction by F. Murray Abraham); as “Lobby Boy: “Zero” (17 year-old Tony Revolori is sensational); the antics that cemented Gustave and his unlikely bond. Anderson shrinks the screen, embracing in intimacy the perils of the past, while expanding the scope when focusing on the present day. Like “Moonrise Kingdom” the action is formally framed; the characters move with the choreographic agility of trained dancers; shades of Charlie Chaplin’s artifice; “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is a wondrous feat of filmmaking.
A plethora of actors fortify the film with depth and style: Jude Law, Tilda Swinton, Willem Defoe, Jeff Goldblum, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Saoirse Ronan, Bill Murray; but it is Ralph Fiennes, who imbues with vibrancy, the ghost of writer Stefan Zweig (committed suicide with his wife, in 1942) “better to conclude in good time, a life in which intellect’s labor meant the purest joy and personal freedom, the highest good on earth”. Wes Anderson and his boundless creative freedom blesses audiences with a joyous journey, a delicious parody of a time gone bye.
A delightful movie….reminding me why movies exist! An escape… at once macabre and funny, poetic and profane. Beautifully photographed, beautifully told and acted, a joy in every respect. (I did not recognize Tilda Swinton at all!)
Always a joy when we are on the same page! P.
I love pecans…..especially Hungarian! You make it sound like Swan Lake!
It swept me away, as do your comments! P.
I am sure that you all have already but—if not—read “Hare with Amber Eyes”; sounds like it works with this movie which has not opened yet in Boca. Anxiously waiting for it; his movies are terrific.
Yes! Read it and loved it!!!!!! Had never heard of the “Ephrussi” family until I read the book> thank you, Marlene
Superb review for a fabulous film. Great cast, but, it is Ralph Fiennes who ties the film together beautifully, as Gustave H., with his network of concierges. Zero steels the show from him a couple of times with also an amazing performance. It inspired me to go back and read more of Stephan Zweig’s beautiful novels.
Thank you, dear Laura; it inspired me to read “The World of Yesterday”; brilliance sometimes comes with a huge price. P.
Loved that you loved it, especially after what you said when we first started to watch it ……….your review was perfect! How nice to a friend who can verbalize what I was thinking, of course doing it so brilliantly , which i could never achieve …………love you!
Every film is better, sitting next to you. (Well, almost every film.)
Thank you for your beautiful sentiments! P.
Terrific review and a luscious wonderful film. I’m so glad that I saw it at The Arclight because there are three different aspect ratios deployed in this film and I read that some theaters are flubbing it.
Interesting comment> Can you elaborate? Thanks, P.
Jeff Wells explains it better than I can so I’ll just link to a piece about aspect ratios and this film on his site (I hope this is ok) : http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com/2014/03/will-projectionists-get-right/ From what I have read there and elsewhere some theaters have just masked the periphery and just left it (cutting off the top in some sequences).