The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
February 15, 2015 11:22 AM - Subscribe

The adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous hotel from the fictional Republic of Zubrowka between the first and second World Wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. (capsule description from IMDB)

Wes Anderson's eighth feature film is his usual confection of candy colors, mannered acting directly into the camera, and stylized everything.

The Grand Budapest Hotel has racked up three Academy Award nominations (Picture, Director, Original Screenplay), one Golden Globe (Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy), and fifteen Best Screenplay awards.
posted by Etrigan (34 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I love this movie. (h/t)
posted by books for weapons at 11:52 AM on February 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'm not a huge Wes Anderson fan but this was really fantastic. The prison escape bit was grand.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 1:25 PM on February 15, 2015 [3 favorites]

I really enjoyed this one. I think Anderson's style fits with the inter-war aesthetic of the setting, and I appreciated all the actors not putting on accents.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:31 PM on February 15, 2015 [3 favorites]

I'm the same as Ik ben -- I've always found Anderson to be sort of a Tim Burton 2.0: an interesting stylist but an incomplete filmmaker. But I really liked this movie, and I like it more the more I think about it (I just saw it as part of the AMC Best Picture Showcase, and I was astounded that it wasn't on FanFare yet).

The stylised nature of Anderson's work serves the story very well -- it's a story, after all, presented to us by Wilkinson/Law as the story told to them by Moustafa (I recalled, more than once, the Sandman collection Worlds' End, where in some places we are reading a story told by a character in a story told by another character in a story told by the overall narrator).

Perhaps not the best picture of 2014, but certainly a worthy choice to contend for that title.
posted by Etrigan at 2:26 PM on February 15, 2015 [4 favorites]

I love the aesthetic of Wes Anderson films and consider myself a fan but...what is Wes Anderson's mind fuck issue with killing, maiming, and/or abandoning animals in his movies? I should probably Google this since it's a recurring theme.

Ralph Fiennes was delightful in this production.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 2:43 PM on February 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

I usually enjoy Wes Anderson films but I have tried to watch this twice now and have ended up falling asleep before the midpoint both times. Who needs sleeping pills? I have The Grand Budapest Hotel.
posted by hoodrich at 3:12 PM on February 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

what is Wes Anderson's mind fuck issue with killing, maiming, and/or abandoning animals in his movies?

The top two Google results for "wes anderson animal abuse":
Does Wes Anderson Hate Dogs?, New Yorker, June 21st, 2012
Does Wes Anderson Hate Cats?, New Yorker, March 17th, 2014

From the latter:
[Pets] are vitally important to people’s lives, but also—as anyone who has ever flushed a goldfish, or buried a cat in the backyard, only to move on rather blithely knows—weirdly and unnervingly disposable. But, in the end, men and women are disposable, too. Anderson’s movies have always been death-haunted. Now they are becoming increasingly gruesome, as if to prove ridiculous those who mistake his visual exuberance for a kind of twee, Pollyannaish world view. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is packed with frivolity, but, throughout, it is a story of bodily injury (a scene with some fingers was a macabre shocker) and, ultimately, of loss. Death awaits everyone—even the cat.
posted by Etrigan at 3:16 PM on February 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

This is the first full-on Wes Anderson movie I've seen (I've seen Fantastic Mr. Fox but it's an adaptation). It was delightful, but mostly because he did so much pastiching of vintage films and because the excellent cast took real glee in their roles.
posted by immlass at 3:20 PM on February 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

It should be noted that there were special instructions about projecting the film in theaters, due to the multiple aspect ratios used in the film.

I had thought that GBH had the curved corners at the edge of the frame, but that was Zero Theorem.
posted by Catblack at 3:23 PM on February 15, 2015

I enjoyed this movie. I think Anderson gets a bum rap as just a stylist. To me, the dysfunction within families and communities is just as interesting as Vietnam or the Mafia. Also, seeing the often awful movies inspired by his work can really bring his talent into sharp relief.

That said, in a way I think it is inevitable that Anderson will make movies about 'Nam and the Mafia someday.
posted by snofoam at 3:24 PM on February 15, 2015

For a little while I looked down on Wes Anderson for "only making Wes Anderson movies" but you know what, it's what he does, and having one rather than zero Wes Anderson movies every few years is fine by me. I thought The Grand Budapest Hotel was great.

I do wish that people would find other directors to parody, though. Literally 80% of the time I see a parody of a filmmaker, it is of Wes Anderson.
posted by dfan at 3:54 PM on February 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

Thanks, Etrigan. I actually did google it myself but super thanks for the links here since I wandered off.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 4:11 PM on February 15, 2015

(I realize that short is a parody of older films, but it still makes me giggle)
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 4:24 PM on February 15, 2015

I, too, really enjoyed this movie! I noticed at some point, suddenly, that it seemed to be in Academy Ratio, and promptly googled to see if it was some sort of Shining thing, and discovered that I had simply not noticed the transitions. My wife missed them completely and was shocked when I mentioned the aspect ratio changes when we were talking about the movie after watching it.

I guess that's as much of an endorsement of the effectiveness of the storytelling as anything could be.

I'm also quite fond of Anderson's use of miniatures to create a deliberate theatricality to his movies, and I love his reasoning that they're just his preferred method of creating an image of something that doesn't exist (as opposed to, say, CGI) for the purposes of a movie.
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:07 PM on February 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

I love it. I've seen it twice. One of my favorite things is the way that every time a character is about to bust out some romantic poetry it's immediately interrupted by the ensuing chaos of the war, the chase, or a combination of both. I guess that's a major theme of the movie too, the fantasy of romance and how it's interrupted by hatred and brutality.
posted by codacorolla at 7:08 PM on February 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

Gosh! I am surprised at the universal praise. I'm one of the top Wes Anderson fans in America, generally, but I just cannot make myself like this movie. I've watched it twice and just have the feeling the entire time that he's trying to cram every possible Wes Anderson thing he can possibly come up with into 2 hours without regard for making a cohesive film. I have the feeling throughout that I don't even know what the movie is really about.

I do love the line, "Gunther was slain in the catacombs," though. He does know how to turn a phrase.
posted by something something at 6:09 AM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

I just watched this last night. Loved it, the whole look of the film was just great.
posted by Fence at 7:03 AM on February 16, 2015

The framing in the film is so nice it's virtually distracting.
posted by Atreides at 8:54 AM on February 16, 2015

I liked the twee pseudo-Nazism.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 9:04 AM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

I think he's just getting better and better and for the first dozen years of his career or so his films were sometimes amusing but really came across to me as self-indulgent and weird, and then all of the sudden the last 3 films he's made have been enthralling. I watched all of his films again recently just to see if maybe I had missed something the first time through, but The Royal Tenenbaums and Rushmore, etc. all seemed about as cloying to me now as they did when I first watched them.

Ralph Fiennes was so great in this film, too. So very very good!

After Fantastic Mr Fox I was convinced that Wes Anderson should only direct animated films, but Moonrise Kingdom and now Grand Budapest Hotel have turned me into a pretty big fan of his.
posted by MoonOrb at 2:36 PM on February 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Matt Zoller Seitz, The Wes Anderson Collection: Chapter 8, "The Grand Budapest Hotel
But with each successive viewing, a funny, really not-so-funny thing happens: The veil of lightness lifts to reveal a film that would be unbearably sad if it weren’t cushioned by comedy and dolled up with spectacle. You find yourself dreading the moments of darkness more acutely: Joplin hacking off Deputy Kovacs’s fingers via sliding metal door; Zero in black-and-white, taking a rifle butt across the face; darling Agatha marrying Zero on a mountaintop as old Zero informs us that she, and their infant son, died two years later of the Prussian grippe. As you watch and re-watch, the film’s wit and motion never recede completely, but you may feel a pang as you realize that, like so many Wes Anderson pictures, The Grand Budapest Hotel is about loss, and how we come to terms with loss—or never do.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:15 PM on February 16, 2015 [5 favorites]

Back in my "I am still desperately hanging onto the edge of the film industry by my bleeding fingernails" days, I was working with someone on a rather misguided project, but my favorite part of it was the overly earnest spy character. He was hyper competent to be sure, but didn't really belong in a world of deception, intrigue, and treachery. He was always unburdening himself to subdued goons because he didn't have anyone else he could talk to, and lamenting that every time he met a nice girl she ended up trying to kill him with a laser hair clip or some damn thing.

I was basically writing him as James Bond played by Owen Wilson, and it occurs to me I would very much like to see Wes Anderson's Bond film someday.
posted by Naberius at 8:28 AM on February 18, 2015 [3 favorites]

I really enjoy Anderson's style, and I enjoyed this movie, but the more I think about it the more I'm irritated by the lack of female characters. Even the one actual female character (who I do like) who gets more than a couple of minutes of screen time is mostly praised for her "purity," and then dies tragically off-screen to further the main character's emotional journey. At least they didn't kill her when they did the fake-out.

It is very interesting to consider this a comedy, again when you think about it more and stop being mesmerized by the scenery.

what is Wes Anderson's mind fuck issue with killing, maiming, and/or abandoning animals in his movies?

I absolutely refused to watch Moonrise Kingdom until I confirmed from at least three separate, reliable sources that the kitten was going to make it through unscathed. I really disliked the cat death here, but in that movie it would have been unbearable.
posted by ilana at 11:46 AM on February 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

I don't think it's the kitten you have to worry about there. And it's worth pointing out that everybody dies offscreen in Anderson's movies, whether tragically or not (except the Willem Dafoe character here, come to think of it). For example, we see the moment of Royal Tenenbaum's death, but we are looking at his son's face at the time.
posted by Grangousier at 9:27 AM on February 19, 2015

Nice job interview scene:

"Who wouldn't want to be a lobby boy at the Grand Budapest Hotel? It’s an institution."

I thought that aesthetically (color, composition, tone) it was interesting, but I didn't love this one. I enjoyed Moonrise Kingdom a bit more.
posted by gemutlichkeit at 10:52 AM on February 19, 2015

Interviews with Adam Stockhausen, the Production Designer nominated for an Academy Award (it was also nominated for Film Editing) here and here. I loved the film visually but the 1968 hotel lobby was the most... disturbing part for me.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 2:17 AM on February 20, 2015

Norman L. Eisen, The Grand Budapest Hotel Is a Thoughtful Comedy About Tragedy
How can comedy ever be appropriate when it comes to remembering such solemn events? I first asked that question about the film three years ago, before it was even made. At the time I was the U.S. Ambassador in Prague, and the filmmakers reached out to say that they were researching a movie set in the fictional land of Zubrowka (a stand in for the Czech lands) during the 1930s, concluding in 1938 and told in flashback from 1968 (two very bleak years in Czech history, marking the Nazi and the Soviet invasions). Would I help?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:12 PM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

I just saw this last night. I don't usually pay much attention to who the director is, but this was so stylistically like The Royal Tenenbaums that I made a mental note to find out who directed that afterwards. And yep.

Loved Ralph Fiennes in this. I don't think I ever saw him in a comic role before, and he was clearly relishing every moment of it. More funny Ralph, please!
posted by orange swan at 5:44 PM on February 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Observations on Film Art: THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL: Wes Anderson takes the 4:3 challenge
Still, Anderson is today the most widely visible example of the style, partly because while others use it sporadically, he is single-minded about it. He has made people shot-conscious (at least when they watch his movies). So after seeing his newest film, I thought it would be fun to think about what distinguishes his approach.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:20 AM on December 27, 2015

I spent so long making this only to find it's a double:

How to make(video) (GIF)(written) Mendl's Courtesan au Chocolate, a pastry (religieuse) so beautiful even a hardened zentraleuropäisch prison guard will refrain from cutting it up.

Of course, you'll need a box.

religieuse courtesy of The Great British Bake Off

It starts with pâte à choux/choux pastry, which is also used in eclairs and profiteroles: Cordon Bleu, the Kitchn, Martha.

The Grand Budapest Hotel, 4 stars, Glenn Kenny - "As much as "The Grand Budapest Hotel" takes on the aspect of a cinematic confection, it does so to grapple with the very raw and, yes, real stuff of humanity from an unusual but highly illuminating angle."

You'll need a crème pâtissière (chocolate) for the filling: in french, english, plain from Julia, Martha.

The coloring is a simple glaze.

The fiddly pastry may be harder to make and assemble than you hope - falling apart and in pieces like scraps of poetry.

How plausible is that MacGuffin of a painting? Painted by Michael Taylor,/a> (with some input from Anderson).

Courtesan au chocolat was a creation of Cafe CaRe in Görlitz, home to some of the shooting locations and interiors of The Grand Budapest Hotel.

It's too bad you can't stay the the old dowager (since it was built in miniature) - it's gotten rave reviews on TripAdvisor.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:51 PM on March 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

I picked this because it came up in my “movies to watch high” search, and I did as instructed, and… I have no fucking idea what happened in this movie. Had fun though!

I’m sure no one will see this comment.
posted by obfuscation at 6:36 AM on January 30, 2022 [2 favorites]

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