The Grand Budapest Hotel

Here is Wes Anderson's most mature film, and his most visually witty, too. It's playful without being self-congratulatory, lush without being cloying. Initially, it appears to be one of his twee fantasies, opening with an animated funicular huffing up a mountain backdrop to arrive at the titular hotel. But with a blink, the image jumps from 1932 to 1968, and the building devolves from pink to drab. We realize that, for once, Anderson will let his airless snow globe be shaken and dropped, and in this case crudely glued back together by Communism. The film has the scope of a century, with Anderson wrestling with four different time frames; the main narrative, set before World War II, concerns young Moustafa (newcomer Tony Revolori) ascending from Junior Lobby Boy-in-training under supreme concierge Monsieur Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) to owning the hotel outright. Fiennes is brilliant. He understands that Anderson has a hard time distinguishing people from props, and plays Gustave as a bit of both, a self-created legend who strides around the hotel like the Fred Astaire of housekeeping. The thrust of the plot is Gustave's efforts to prove he didn't kill one of his heiresses (Tilda Swinton), a murder charge levied by her tittering daughters and money-hungry son Adrian Brody, who stalks the film like Poe's raven. But the emotional drama is Gustave's struggle to keep order while chaos -- personal and geopolitical -- encroaches on his manicured fiefdom. Meanwhile, we're all too aware that it's futile: Soon, the whole thing will be blown to bits, and the generation after will have no use for gilded manners.



  • Wes Anderson


  • Saoirse Ronan
  • Ralph Fiennes
  • Edward Norton
  • Willem Dafoe
  • Jude Law
  • Owen Wilson
  • Léa Seydoux
  • Bill Murray
  • Adrien Brody
  • Tilda Swinton


  • Wes Anderson

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