100%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (6 Votes)

Fans of Wes Anderson and casual moviegoers will be delighted with The Grand Budapest Hotel.

While violence and criminal plots may be new to Wes Anderson, the execution of The Grand Budapest Hotel, is nothing short of brilliant. Set in the fictional republic of Zubrowka, the array of characters and plots is something we have come to expect from the gifted filmmaker and while this film may not convert you into an Anderson fan, it will no doubt be the most fun you’ll have the cinema so far this year.

Flashing back to 1932, the narrator Zero Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham) explains to an author (Jude Law) how the hotel came to be in his possession, and the story is nothing short of exhilarating. During the hotel’s golden age, Zero was a lobby boy under the charismatic and equally enigmatic concierge, Gustave (played by Ralph Fiennes). Gustave is the product from a fading, more sophisticated era, having immaculate manners and charm. He is the hotel in all its glory, but behind the scenes he is a man that seduces many of the female clientele, mostly the elderly. One of his lovers, Madame D. (Tilda Swinton) is murdered and in her will gifts Gustave a valuable portrait, which becomes the crux of further complications. Her evil son (Adrien Brody) puts the blame of her murder on Gustave, as he is unwilling to give up this priceless piece of art. Chased by the son’s henchman (Willem Dafoe), Gustave and young Zero try to convince the authorities of his innocence and right to the inheritance, while breaking out of prison and scampering across a war-torn nation.

While the film is quint-essential Wes Anderson, it is more of a crowd-pleaser than his earlier work. He has built a following from his previous films, but The Grand Budapest Hotel should open up the doors for more support as the film is as entertaining as the medium gets. Love is at the core of the story, but a murder-mystery, comedy, action and a very intriguing cast fills in all the holes to make this a must-see film.


Ralph Fiennes performance is a departure from his typical serious, brooding roles of the past. Even his performance in the comedy In Bruges has him as the villain, and a very serious one. After seeing The Grand Budapest Hotel you are left thinking that no other actor could pull off the role of Gustave better. Gustave’s public personality is so different from his behind the doors persona that we can do nothing but adore Fiennes’ ability to pull it off. Similar to Moonrise Kingdom, there is an adolescent romance between young Zero and his eventual fiancé, Agatha (Saoirse Ronan).

You’ll be pressed to find many viewers leaving the theater without a smile on their face. The film is so colorful and full of laugh out loud moments that the characters, even the villains, become irresistible. Few films can pull off the effect that The Grand Budapest Hotel does, and for that, Wes Anderson must be applauded.


About The Author

Nate Davis

Nate Davis is the managing editor for Filmtakeout. Along with overseeing the content that gets posted on the site, Nate contributes a weekly column and review. Nate graduated from the University of Iowa with a B.A. in Journalism and Cinema. He worked for the University of Iowa's Center for Media Production as an intern, production assistant and writer. Nate also writes for a website devoted to covering soccer, and has a blog that includes all his work.