The Grand Budapest Hotel – 4.5 stars

Wes Anderson makes children’s stories for adults.  They are highly detailed and richly textured, giving the impression of an old picture book or model train set from our youth, and they are very funny.  The Grand Budapest Hotel – a colorful story about the concierge of a once majestic property (Ralph Fiennes) and his efforts to tutor a protégé (Toni Revolore) – is no different than Anderson’s other films in these respects.  However, Anderson re-jiggers his formula, amping up the stylish (the scenery approximates toy furniture) and emphasizing the screwball.  What is missing are the moments of true human connection that punctuate his earlier works, the moments in Rushmore when Jason Schwartzman shows his hurt feelings or introduces his father, or in Moonrise Kingdom, when the children kiss or Edward Norton reveals his fears of failure as a scout master, or even in The Life Aquatic, when Bill Murray tries to woo Cate Blanchett.  This is Anderson’s non-animated The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and as that was a fantastic film, so too Grand Budapest.  But it is Anderson’s least affecting picture.


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