The Grand Budapest Hotel

This is a film that is impossible to pigeon hole. Wes Anderson’s latest creation is a dazzling delight. The grand hotel in the title is located in a fictitious European alpine mountain with a lobby boy immigrant from a fictitious country in the East. But the evocation of high society’s grandeur against the hardships of the times is real.

The story centres on M. Gustave H (played by Ralph Fiennes), an idiosyncratic, vain but principled concierge whose class service recalls a time when institutions like The Grand Budapest Hotel were the standard to bear. He takes on a young pupil, the new lobby boy (Tony Revolori) and it is through the lobby boy’s eyes that the story is told. As for the plot? It is everything I love about films: a story within a story, a swashbuckling sweep of adventure, romance, humour, feuds, murder mystery, prison break (every good adventure story in my books need to have a prison break or two) and ski chase.

The film is exactingly stylish and rhythmically rhapsodical. Every frame is planned to the dot. Yet it flows and oozes with nostalgia. It is a film about genteel manners, of a time past. But the film is also about the human bond and loyalty, and that is timeless.



3 thoughts on “The Grand Budapest Hotel

  1. jem

    I love crumbling hotels so I should watch this.

    Reading about the film, it impressed up on me that the film
    1. was ‘inspired by the writer Stefan Zweig’, who was one of my favourite German-language writers. But it does not seem to be based on any specific book per se – in which case, the closest ‘book on a crumbling grand hotel’ I can recall is by another of my favourite writers JG Farrell’s ‘Troubles’

    2. was filmed in Germany. One of my favourite things about living in Europe is that you can find crumbling castles and mansions of an unimaginable scale scattered across the countryside. A few years ago, I was living next to a crumbling estate in Scotland with a grand manorial house (which most Singaporeans would call a castle) set in 3000 acres that had only one sole, half-senile retired colonel deep into his 80s.

    1. plumerainbow Post author

      Not about a crumbling hotel but a crumbling castle, I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith (who also wrote 101 Dalmatians) is a wonderfully endearing read. I could read it over and over again.

      I have been interested in reading Stefan Zweig’s books. Which should I start with?

      1. jem

        his most famous one. ‘The Royal Game’

        I mark Zweig down a little for his suicide but he is very good and undeservedly forgotten.

        Another Alpine Deutsche fav is Thomas Bernhard….start with Gargoyles

        I will check out Dodie Smith (never even heard of her!)

        Believe it or not, I actually have a family reunion (from the Prussian side) next weekend where Grand Budapest Hotel is set…may not make it because of work commitments but if I do, I’ll take notes

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