Thursday, September 11, 2014

grand budapest hotel

Oh, how I adore a good movie.

A good movie can mean many things. Heartbreaking, stunning, clever, fun, brutal, enlightening, deep, light, sweet, somber.
In the case of Grand Budapest Hotel, "good" encompasses a great many traits. Beauty and memory, creativity and nostalgia. Dark humor and endless quirkiness, the kind that only Wes Anderson can accomplish. A current of intrigue lined with friendship and loyalty. Intricate melancholy.

Overall there's a kind of sweet, creeping sadness to it that stays with you for days. Exactly where it comes from could be a fascinating discussion, I imagine. I tend to think it comes from a thought that's perfectly summarized in one of the very last lines in the film:

To be frank, I think his world had vanished long before he ever entered it. But, I will say, he certainly sustained the illusion with a marvelous grace. 

I must say, I find that girl utterly delightful. Flat as a board, enormous birthmark the shape of Mexico over half her face, sweating for hours on end in that sweltering kitchen, while Mendl, genius though he is, looms over her like a hulking gorilla. Yet without question, without fail, always and invariably, she's exceedingly lovely. 

There's a little knowledge tucked away in my mind that this movie is not for everyone, which makes me inexplicably sad. Of course I can't fault anyone for it not being their type. Everyone has a type, of course, a set of rules that decides whether or not they'll enjoy watching something. Perhaps that's part of what makes this movie so special to me, the acknowledgement that this secret treasure can only be shared with a certain type of person.

Art is so personal, and this particular embodiment of it really moved me. It unfolds like a pop-up book, colorful and strange, almost cartoonish in its storytelling. It makes me love Wes Anderson even more, because he's so brave and inventive with his style. From the moment I saw Fantastic Mr. Fox, Wes and I have been kindred spirits.

Grand Budapest is silly and dark and occasionally crude, completely absurd at times and overwhelmingly delightful at others. It's brilliantly acted. Ralph Fiennes is a superjoy, a word I made up especially for him. The dialogue is quick and poetic and fascinating, the whole film full of wonderful little hints and trinkets at the corner of each artistic shot that will take you many viewings to find. I adore it, in all its absurdities.

I will recommend it to you with cautionary enthusiasm. Be ready to love it, or else you'll be baffled by it. If you hate it, our friendship may suffer, but only for a second. I'll forgive you, if only because I know that for every person that rejects it my love for it grows that much more.

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