The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel ★★★★★

I can’t think of another film from the past decade that feels as fully realized and alive as this. Every exquisitely designed scene is buoyed by the sheer joy of creation. Every immaculately composed shot is overflowing with the spirit of invention. Every line of the ceaselessly witty dialogue is dripping in the music and poetry of words both spoken and written. 

To think I didn’t even like it that much the first time I saw it. 

Today, I realize it’s the movie Wes Anderson was born to make; the work his whole career had been building toward. As much a paean to the importance of aesthetics as an expression of longing for a more orderly and civilized past that is both a lost reality and a figment of the imagination.

It is important not to lose sight of the fact that most of what we’re seeing in the film is a book being read by a young woman sitting on a bench. It’s The Student’s envisioning of The Author’s accounting of Mr. Moustafa’s recounting of M. Gustave’s personal history. Fiction reflecting reality filtered through memory glimpsed by the mind’s eye. 

In that sense, the film becomes a study of the symbiosis between writer and reader, director and viewer. An examination of the necessity of story to the human experience. A celebration of the power of art to both preserve and reshape the past while enriching the present.

“To be frank, I think his world had vanished long before he ever entered it. But I will say, he certainly sustained the illusion with a marvelous grace.”

Your world is what you make of it, for as long as you can manage to hold on to it.

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