The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel ★★★★½

Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. 

Anderson’s style perfectly twists fiction within fiction within fiction in his chocolate box, doll’s house setting. In the repetitive retelling of the “truth” within the fictitious European landscape, the intricate narrative unfolds as a carefully constructed yet exciting and funny tale. The curiously child-like visuals are perfectly at odds with his jarring deadpan comedy, creating a delightfully peculiar mix of the pretty and mildly grotesque, often in the same frame. 

The only fault I can find here is that something in Anderson’s approach to representing minorities is unsettling to me. Zero Moustafa, although pivotal to the narrative, is servile and without much depth. Moreover, his status as an immigrant remains largely unexplored, other than to be used against him (most notably in an overtly racist tirade from his “brother” in arms Monsieur Gustave). Furthermore, Anderson revels in turning “imperfect” bodies into some kind of spectacle for his loyal cult following (I.e. the woman with one leg and the “crippled” shoe shine). He seems to merely use these people as objects to feed into his style of the grotesque/picturesque. To me it appears that he fails to understand that these groups are more than tools to serve his vision. 

This is what unfortunately prevents me from giving this triumph of a film the full star rating. I’m excited for the release of his new film, and hope that he has been able to  rectify the problematic representations that have troubled me here.

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