Film Reviews: The Darjeeling Limited (2007) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

I am having a Wes Anderson Sunday. I was trying to think of bright, sunny movies to watch and the first thing that sprang to mind was The Darjeeling Limited, which is funny, because I haven’t actually watched the film in years, but I think my brain just went: whimsy = Wes Anderson, and that’s exactly what I needed.

I love how colourful and bright this film is. The soundtrack is perfect for Sunday mornings. And the film is just so darn funny. Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman are bloody hilarious together and I forgot so many of the scenes – the snake on the train, Rita, the constant bickering between the brothers; each brother waiting for one to leave before spilling the beans had me in stitches. Maturity, who needs maturity?! It’s a great film if you’re looking for brotherly love, bonding, banter and bickering.

I forgot about how much I didn’t like the mother character, too. Anjelica Huston is a great actress, but the character – oh! She was so thoughtless to her children. I’m really glad they supported each other, because she was very frustrating and cavalier. I want to know why. I don’t feel like we got enough context about the parents, actually. We know that they’re grieving their father, who is in a brief cameo by Bill Murray, but we don’t know much about him as a character. I like that everything focuses on the brothers and their growth and feelings, but it’s hard to understand why their mother just up and left them, and what their relationship with their father looked like before his death.

I followed The Darjeeling Limited with The Grand Budapest Hotel, which I actually haven’t seen before. I’ve always meant to, but somehow never got around to it. I’m really loving it so far. The casts in these movies are amazing and I love ensemble movies. The back and forth banter in the opening scene was great. Wes Anderson has such a way with setting the scene, bringing in the right music, making a story. It’s something I also really see in Bryan Fuller productions, too. (Thinking Pushing Daisies, Hannibal, Star Trek, etc.) That ability to make you fall face first into their universe. Not every director can do that and these two are especially good at world building and atmosphere. Peter Jackson is another that comes to mind (The Lord of the Rings, King Kong, Mortal Engines, etc), but there’s something remarkably whimsical about Anderson’s productions that I love. His films are like if macarons came to life with a 1970s soundtrack and colour palette, and I am here it!

Perfect sunny Sunday films for sure!