ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) Review

Updated on May 21, 2014

By now we all know that Wes Anderson pretty much does one thing really, really well. He has taken his time and career opportunities to refine his brand of craft to perfection, rather than exploring and expirementing with other modes of filmmaking. And that is awesome. Because when I go to see one of his movies, I get to feel instantly comfortable, but simultaneously excited for a new installment, complete with improvements on quirks I already love. On the flipside, I have seen this approach alienate some from accessing his work, which is a risk he seems not to let obstruct his aim. Still, I think he creates a highly accessible particularity; it’s so fun and beautiful, you can’t help but want to be a part of the world he creates.

Which is why one of the dominant themes of his work is characters who create their own worlds, their own illusions and rules and agreements, with themselves at the center. This case is no different. After a series of progressive layers of narrative—reminiscent of Plato’s ‘Symposium,’ and raising all the relevant questions of narrative reliability therein—we get to the core character, Gustave H. (Fiennes). This man is a typically Andersonian charming rascal who may or may not mean well, but whose frame of reality is so strong he pulls others in, with varying results. Anderson uses this character to explore other human conceptual tendencies, such as what constitutes “higher-class” in language, art, and membership. Class tropes such as secret societies; unsolicited, pseudo-intelligent, verbose philosophizing; and haughty idioms (e.g. “as they say”) are subtly poked fun at here. More importantly, though, the message seems to center around how harmless these types of self-created realities are in comparison to some of the greater horrors of mankind when they turn against one another. Ultimately, Anderson pleads the case for the necessity and usefulness of such world-building, in that it provides our lives with beauty to fight off the darkness.

But the clever filmmaker chooses not to make this case somberly. Instead, he lives the beauty, employing his full armada to show us. His typical cast is back—typical here to be equated with extraordinary—and each actor turns in a unique and hilarious performance. The music is thankfully less soundtrack-y, as that would have undermined the story, but is beautiful and original nonetheless. And, of course, what we all really come for, the aesthetic: in addition to intermittently blurring the line between real life and dollhouse-models, every frame is meticulously composed here, mindfulness applied to every detail. I don’t see how one could fully grasp the intricacies of this story’s visual language in just one viewing. There is simply too much for the eye to catch at once, which is what makes these films worth re-watching, owning, and cherishing. And so, though I liked some of his previous films even more, this is a worthy and worthwhile addition, and above all, a great time at the show.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • argentiscriptor profile imageAUTHOR

      Alex Daniels 

      4 years ago from New York

      It was a pleasure seeing you too, man.

      In regards to your question: Absolutely! We must want to return continually to the story... otherwise how else would he sell the DVDs?

    • profile image

      Mahmoud Samori 

      4 years ago

      Hey Alex, it was great seeing you and Ashley the other day and this review was a pleasure. I totally agree with your point about the visual language demanding a second viewing to fully digest and grasp. Do you think that is intentional? Does Anderson do this in certain scenes (or throughout) perhaps in the way some writers will craft a sentence such that it demands a rereading? I felt there were visual elements that I got because I was paying sharp attention, which seems like a pleasing reward, but I did leave wondering whether I'd missed bits that would have been rewards had I been sharper...


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)