Prior to the pandemic, when award shows were all in person, I remember watching the Golden Globes and the Oscars with my mom during my freshman year of high school and this one movie being nominated for seemingly everything.
The name of the film was 2014’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” and the awards were nine Oscar nominations, four Golden Globe nominations and even a Grammy awards win for best score.
So I made a mental note of it in my mind after that awards season that when I was officially allowed to watch rated R movies, I would watch “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” on my own and see just what made it so great.
That isn’t to say, however, that I hadn’t already seen a plethora of classic rated-R movies, because I had.
As a child, my mother would watch a lot of the classics, “Silence of the Lambs,” “No Country for Old Men,” “Lethal Weapon” and other popular flicks from her generation. As the lover of stories I was even at those ages, I would sneakily watch those movies by pretending to be asleep when my mother turned them on.
What I failed to grasp at those ages was the beauty, complexity and nuance to a lot of the filmmaking process that goes into the creation of a truly great film.
When I watched “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” two years after its initial release, it was one of the first movies where I watched the film and was able to see how magnificent it was while I watched it instead of having someone else explain to me why it was so good afterwards.
Perhaps it was because I was 16 and more mature when I watched it, or perhaps it is because Wes Anderson is such a skilled filmmaker.
I tend to think it’s somewhere in the middle.
When you sit down and watch “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” you find yourself mesmerized by the colorful palate and unique world Wes Anderson has put in front of you.
While at times Anderson’s whimsical and play-like manner in which characters interact with one another is lost on the audience, it is important to see the significance in why Wes Anderson makes his films the way he does.
To me, what is most striking about Wes Anderson films, and most specifically “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” is in the way the story is told is as if it is shown directly from someone’s imagination and not from a screen.
Here’s what I mean by that.
When you watch a film by Wes Anderson, he shows you his world and his film through the lens of how someone hearing a story would imagine it.
For instance, a chase scene on a mountain in “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” looks intentionally like it’s being staged with fake snow and all as Willem Dafoe’s character pursues Ralph Fiennes and Tony Revolori’s characters.
That makes the scene look exactly how your mind would make it if you were reading a book or being told a story. The scene is colorful and realistic, but with a tinge of something freeform and artistic that can’t be explained.
Just think about it, when you are told a story, you can see everything playing out in your head verbatim, but there’s always an extra element our mind that adds to the story as we play it out in our heads.
In addition, the worlds Wes Anderson creates in his films feel like they only go so far. This is not an indictment on his films; in fact, it’s quite the opposite.
It is the ultimate compliment because when watching a Wes Anderson film, it feels very much like the world presented exists only in that space, like a town in a snow globe.
A caricature of what the real world looks like, but with enough discernible differences that you know it was manufactured by someone, created to be an artistic rendering of an idea. It could perhaps based off of a real place, but then again perhaps not.
It’s an ability that no other filmmaker or artist has been able to replicate or improve upon because it is such a difficult thing to do.
Wes Anderson presents engaging and theatrical presentations in all of his works, but if you seriously look at the work on all levels you begin to see the remarkable genius that goes into every project.
Grant Mitchell is a senior majoring in public relations. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.
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