Movie Review: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Jean-Paul’s Rating: 4/5 stars

Bottom Line: Your standard Wes Anderson fare.  If you don’t know what that means, this is a good movie to find out.

You know exactly what you’re getting into when you see a Wes Anderson film.  “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is no exception.  There is whimsy.  Lots and lots of whimsy.  There are eccentric characters by the hotel full.  There is scene after scene of painstakingly designed sets.  And there’s a lot of dialogue dispensed deadpanedly.  Deadpanedly is now a word.

This particular film is pretty straight forward plot wise.  Man runs upscale hotel.  Man loves the old widows that visits the hotel.  One widow dies and leaves him a valuable painting.  Her family fights to keep painting.  Man steals painting.  Man is framed for widow’s murder.  Man goes to jail.  Man escapes from jail.  Man goes to retrieve stolen painting.  Man discovers painting holds a secret.  Man inherits fortune.  I guess I should say it’s straight forward for a Wes Anderson movie.  And that’s just the basics.

I enjoy how Wes Anderson wraps this movie up at the beginning and then unfolds it.  It begins with a woman visiting a monument to a famous writer and then that gets wrapped up into the writer talking about his career and that gets wrapped up into the writer meeting a man who owns the Grand Budapest Hotel and that gets wrapped up into the owner talking about how he came to inherit the hotel and that gets wrapped up into the main plot.  Then, after the main plot is resolved, everything gets unpacked again and the credits roll.  So “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is actually a story within a story within a story within a story.  A recursive function, if you will.

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” is entertaining throughout.  There was a persistent smile on my face throughout.  The great thing about a Wes Anderson film is that he always gives you something to look at.  Often more than one something at the same time.  It’s like a main course and a desert served together.  This movie also stars every actor that has ever appeared in another Wes Anderson movie.  Part of the fun is wondering when your favorite actor will finally appear.

I wouldn’t say this is Wes Anderson’s best film, but it’s certainly up there.  I’m not entirely sure I’d recommend it to a person who isn’t a fan of Wes Anderson movies, but I’d certainly recommend it as a first entry for anyone who has never been exposed to Wes Anderson’s particular film making style.