Wes Anderson is one of the most gifted filmmakers of this or any other generation. His new movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel is earning rave reviews after opening at the Berlin Film Festival, with more than one film buff calling it his best work to date. Anderson is much beloved by audiences the world over, so what is his secret ingredient? His movies have been described as “a spiritual experience” by some. What resonates so strongly within people when they watch his films?
Before his secret is revealed, a closer look at his newest effort is warranted. The Grand Budapest Hotel tells the quirky story of a hotel concierge, his lobby boy, a famous missing painting, a deceased old woman who had been the concierge’s love interest and a cast of unusual characters. Needless to say, hijinks ensue.
The film features all of the cherished Anderson faves like Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Jude Law, Tom Wilkinson, Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman and Edward Norton. The cast, overall, is quite large because the film utilizes a series of flashbacks through different periods of time.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is eagerly anticipated by Wes Anderson fans and general movie buffs alike. Anderson has a knack for one-upping himself with every film, and that is just a fraction of what makes his secret ingredient so special. He has revealed little about himself to the press, which makes Anderson all the more mysterious; and his movies, miraculous in their personal nature and the way they touch the soul.
Anderson’s secret ingredient is a blend of the following: artistic genius, angst, longing, joy, bewilderment, deep sadness, redemption, family, happiness, grief and above all, the dreams of childhood. These pieces, while usually unrelated, add up with perfect cohesion to create the signature flavor of his films. While watching his movies, something happens in the brain that is difficult to put into words, but it feels amazing; like the second to the last day of summer. It’s bittersweet and lovely; it’s pregnant with beauty in a way no other films can capture.
It’s not enough to say watching Rushmore brings viewers back to being fifteen and in love for the first time. It’s not enough to say The Royal Tenenbaums made perfect sense out of what it means for someone to feel as though they are a misunderstood yet brilliant artist. It’s not enough to say his movies are poignant. For that they are, but they are so much more than just those words. They are absolutely transcendental. They are at once a cacophony of laughter and a deeply moving lyrical exploration of what it is to be alive; but alive the way people are alive before they have forgotten their dreams.
In a way, Anderson is a dream dealer as much as a master storyteller. He can break hearts at the same time he is flooding the soul with a deep love of all that is human. He’s a skilled filmmaker and concurrently, a master of the human psyche. Most importantly, he taps into the deepest desire a person can have to understand the answer to the question “what is art?”
His secret ingredient is not one, but a blend of different pieces that make an Anderson film so recognizable. The Grand Budapest Hotel will be released on March 7. It will be a long wait for Anderson fans everywhere. Sometimes, life really does happen in slow motion.
By: Rebecca Savastio