Getting In Touch With My Feminine Side

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
A Review By Ben Hunter
3½ Out Of 5 Stars


All the pieces seem to be there, but my sensitive side awakens and leaves unsatisfied.


In a fictional European Republic, we travel back in time 3 short journeys to follow Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes), the concierge of a hotel, The Grand Budapest.  Framed for murder, he’s out to clear his name with the help of the young Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori).  Chaos ensues in a very “Wes Anderson-y” (writer/director) way, his stamp of approval of this story, to lead us through comedic gun fights in balconies, quirky characters (beloved Bill Murray), cheerful sled races from a snowy mountaintop monastery, and delightful fun created by Anderson in a world that has his name written all over it. 

It’s a shame I tried twice to get through this film, falling asleep at the exact same spot each time.  As one of my most anticipated of the year, I really tried to give this a shot.  Yet I now know how unsatisfied women feel with their men who look appealing on the outside and on paper, but fail to properly stimulate.

On the surface, it looks like I would enjoy the crap out of this story.  Anderson leaves his mark all over this film as it just reeks of his nature, which I LOVE his style of storytelling!  The way the gunfight unravels, how the chase scenes builds and looks, the typical actors he chooses; pleasing and chiming choral that perfectly fits from Alexandre Desplat (the monastery scene immediately comes to mind that leads to the chase scene), intellectual and witty dialogue that’s not too on the nose but still tunefully gets the point across and sets the tone of this world (the scene where Jeff Goldblum reads the will immediately comes to mind), all the pieces seem to be there. 

I fell asleep on each separate occasion. 

There’s a scene where we follow Gustave throughout the lobby of The Grand Budapest.  It’s a typical day at the hotel, and the normality is nicely construed in what seems like chaotic nature of this one day in which, we find out it's just like any other.  The ordinary world is nicely set.  Gustave is directing people and giving orders by the millisecond, almost literally it seems; and I just can’t wait to see where this leads.  But it just stops; he gets on an elevator and proceeds with the rest of this “crazy” day, which is actually a typical one, which is fine.  I get it.  But that’s all supposed to satisfy.   

Uhhhh, no!  I was just led on! 

I swear Wes Anderson is turning me into a woman getting in touch with my feminine side as I feel unsatisfied and led on with what I’ve been given constantly with this story. 

Okay, not really with the woman thing, but still, I feel like I need more than what I’ve been given.  An intriguing scene of brilliant dialogue, quirky characters, and great direction with blocking the actors, timing and constructing a great scene which brilliantly sets up this world we are to follow our protagonist (the lead) within, to simply end all of a sudden is just unacceptable in my book.  Yes, it nicely sets up this ordinary world, but fails to keep me within it, starting with that nice set up. 

This scene elegantly sums up the experience of the film in my book.  A cute, Wes Anderson-y chase scene on snow sleds sounds great in pitch meetings about what we’ll see in this new film of his.  But not caring about how our leads get to that chase scene, unattached and unresponsive evoking emotion to the events occurring does not sound great, it's quite disappointing actually.  It can’t be a good story; it has to be a great one.

Jude Law & F. Murray Abraham are likable people in general.  So I want to invest my energy into the moments of the scenes as Abraham tells his tales of love for his hotel to Law who’s inquiring about it.  But I don’t want to fall asleep from that story, twice, either. 

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Comedy, 100 Minutes, R
Inspired by the events of: Stefan Zweig
Story by: Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness
Screenplay & Directed by: Wes Anderson
Cast: Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Tom Wilkinson, Owen Wilson, Bob Babalon, Saoirse Ronan, Tony Revolori, & Bill Murray

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