Wes Anderson Film Recap

Part III

Margaret Jemian, Guest Writer

Margaret Jemian, Guest Writer

The following is the third and final portion of a piece submitted by junior Margaret Jemian. Want to contribute to TFS yourself? Send an op-ed to [email protected].







Moonrise Kingdom (2012)


Ah, childhood romance – what a fun thing for kids to experience! Ah, children running away from home – what a horrid thing for parents to worry about! Ah, two twelve year olds in love, rendezvousing in a field to run away from home – what a great topic for a movie! In this hilariously amazing film, that is exactly what Suzy Bishop (a ‘troubled child’) and Sam Shakusky (a former ‘Khaki Scout’) do, giving Suzy’s parents, the Scoutmaster of Troop 55, and the New Penzance Chief of Police quite a fright. 


This extremely quotable movie always finds different ways of making me laugh, whether it be through the relatable awkwardness between Suzy and Sam, or even seeing Jason Schwartzman dressed up like a Boy Scout (khaki shorts and all). Quite frankly, 

I have found that my family and myself discover new ways to integrate quotes from this movie into regular conversation every single day (my sister as I’m writing this: “I love you but you don’t know what you’re talking about”). 

All joking aside, the screenplay, written by Anderson and Roman Coppola (son of Francis Ford Coppola, director of The Godfather), is incredibly witty and intuitive in every way. This film emulates an unstable emotional state, much of which the comedic aspect stems from (Anderson’s distinct style is, of course, maintained). 

One minute you’ll be laughing, the next minute you’ll be crying, and somewhere in between you might be a bit puzzled, but I think that’s just part of the experience. I love this film and firmly believe that no matter what, everyone can find something they like about it, whether it be the fascinating characters, quirky comebacks, or purely the gorgeous scenery. 

And if you still don’t want to watch it after what I’ve said so far, something else you should know is that it also features a star-studded cast: Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Bob Balaban, Tilda Swinton, and for all you die hard Die Hard fans: Bruce Willis.


The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)


Welcome to the Grand Budapest Hotel, once known as the greatest hotel in the Republic of Zubrowka! As told to a young writer over a quaint supper, Monsieur Zero Moustafa relives his younger life as a beginning lobby boy in the hotel, and how under the tutelage of Monsieur Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes), he learns more than he could hope for about life, not to mention running a grand hotel.


This was the first film by Anderson I had seen, and it really offered a beautiful stepping stone into his past and future expressions of mise en scène. The storyline itself is actually comprised of four perspective layers: a teenage girl, an older author, a younger author (the authors are one in the same, just different ages), and finally, M. Moustafa. 

It begins with the teenage girl reading a book entitled “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” whose author received an inside scoop on how M. Moustafa came to own the once well notarized establishment. 

While I do believe that the film in itself is of a high quality, I think that the music is truly what makes it so, so special. The score was written by the acclaimed composer, Alexandre Desplat, who received his first Academy Award for his work on this very film.

The initial light, delicate melody reflects the dainty, detail oriented nature of the Grand Budapest, and when the plot thickens, the music follows suit, presenting viewers with darker, more ominous chords. 

These distinct musical changes intensify hair-raising chase scenes (possibly featuring Jeff Goldblum) and enhance the gentle mood of memorable love stories. 

Needless to say, this film has everything: a layered storyline, eccentricly deep characters, a romance to die for, a murder to live for, prison escapes, winter sports, Bill Murray, one deceased feline, colorful language (courtesy of Adrian Brody), soldiers, elegant pastries, severed fingers, and above all, a happy ending.


Isle of Dogs (2018)


The city of Megasaki is a place where medicine and technology boom, culture and honor to one’s family is everything, and the compassion and understanding of dogs to their owners is of great importance to many! However, when a “dog flu” outbreak threatens the lives of the precious canines, the cat-loving Mayor Kobayashi (Kunichi Nomura) banishes all pooches, sick or healthy, to Trash Island. 

Little does the mayor know, but this action will propel his son, Atari, to embark on a rough journey (all puns intended) to find his loyal and specialized guard dog, Spots, on the island and bring him home. Upon his landing, he meets five dogs: Chief (Bryan Cranston), Rex (Edward Norton), King (Bob Balaban), Duke (Jeff Goldblum), and Boss (Bill Murray), all whom the story revolves around. 

The group of six travel with “the little pilot” (as they call him) across the dauntingly disgusting island in hopes of finding Atari’s best friend. What the dogs don’t realize is that the canine they wish to locate may be closer than they anticipated!


When this film was released, I’ll be honest, I had my doubts. To be completely honest, before I watched this film, I had felt that I was “too old” for animations, having moved on to exclusively live action films at the age of thirteen. However, upon viewing Isle of Dogs, I learned that no matter how old I became, I would never out-grow animated films, stop-motion or otherwise. 

This lovable story was written by Anderson, Coppola, Schwartzman, and Kunichi Nomura, a Japanese writer who partnered with Anderson on the screenplay for The Grand Budapest Hotel

Atari’s odyssey not only reflects his loyalty to his canine-best friend, but it also helps Chief, the stray of the five dogs, learn the ways of a domesticated pooch. The tale is so heartfelt, constantly encouraging the viewer to stand up for what they believe in, just as the pro-dog supporters stand up to the cat-dominated society’s government. 

Although I am a cat person through and through, I quickly began to sympathize with the dog owners as the movie progressed, their hard work and dedication to rescue their precious pups not going to waste. 

When watching this film, it reminded me how fun animated films can be, and while it may sound cheesy, the underlying themes in its story can truly and realistically inspire the viewer to be their best self. 

All in all, Isle of Dogs has proven itself to be a really kind, heartwarming story about the love between a person and an animal. And if you were like me and think that you are too old for an animated film, I can guarantee that you are not!


Anderson’s latest film, The French Dispatch, follows the many stories within an American newspaper outlet in France. The movie is set to be released October 16th, 2020. It looks to be a quirky and exciting adventure for Anderson, possibly his best film yet! But I’ll let you be the judge of that.