The Grand Budapest Hotel,
directed by Wes Anderson
(Indian Paintbrush, 2014)

As a film, The Grand Budapest Hotel works like a kind of wedding cake. The aesthetics are the frosting, absolutely gorgeous to look at, and it makes you crave sugar. The plot is this delightful thin line of raspberry filling: not really the point of the film, but bright, sharp and with a proper pop of flair, much like master concierge and star of this story, Gustave H.

I believe the reason this film is harder to connect to for some is because in most cases the plot provides the cake itself and drives the viewing. So, to have the plot provide only a line of filling may seem like it was made disproportionately or without enough sponge. Yet, this movie does have a very solid cake base to hold up the filling and the frosting. The Grand Budapest Hotel is driven by tone. What holds together this pastry of marvelous images and whacky doings together is that feeling that happens by looking at the world as it is while remembering how it once seemed to be. It's a nostalgia cake baked with the whimsy to imagine and the resignation to live on. When paired with the visuals of eccentric people thrusting themselves zealously into outrageous positions, it's extremely humorous.

Like wedding cake, it may not be to everyone's taste, but it has real symbolic depth that's worth trying out. Besides, the cinematic frosting is fantastic!

book review by
Whitney Mallenby

6 September 2014

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