The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Typically stylish but deceptively thoughtful, The Grand Budapest Hotel finds Wes Anderson once again using ornate visual environments to explore deeply emotional ideas.

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Movie Info

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL recounts the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune -- all against the back-drop ofa suddenly and dramatically changing Continent. (c) Fox Searchlight
Rating:
R (for language, some sexual content and violence)
Genre:
Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 limited
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

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Cast

Ralph Fiennes
as M. Gustave
Tony Revolori
as Zero Moustafa
F. Murray Abraham
as Mr. Moustafa
Edward Norton
as Henckels
Saoirse Ronan
as Agatha
Tilda Swinton
as Madame D.
Bill Murray
as M. Ivan
Jeff Goldblum
as Deputy Kovacs
Willem Dafoe
as Jopling
Adrien Brody
as Dmitri
Harvey Keitel
as Ludwig
Mathieu Amalric
as Serge X.
Jude Law
as Young Writer
Owen Wilson
as M. Chuck
Léa Seydoux
as Clotilde
Tom Wilkinson
as Author
Larry Pine
as Mr. Mosher
Giselda Volodi
as Serge's Sister
Neal Huff
as Lieutenant
Bob Balaban
as M. Martin "The Society of the Crossed Keys"
Fisher Stevens
as M. Robin "The Society of the Crossed Keys"
Wallace Wolodarsky
as M. Georges "The Society of the Crossed Keys"
Waris Ahluwalia
as M. Dino "The Society of the Crossed Keys"
Jella Niemann
as Student
Marcel Mazur
as Author's Grandson
Robert Bienas
as Alpine Hiker
Manfred Lindner
as Front Desk (1968)
Oliver Claridge
as Composer
Bernhard Kremser
as Businessman
Steffan Scheumann
as Head Waiter (1968)
Sabine Euler
as Schoolteacher
Uwe Holoubek
as Second Waiter (1968)
Francesco Zippel
as Footmen (1932)
Lennart Meyer
as Lobby Boy
Hans Alfredson
as Lobby Boy
Manpreet Gerlach
as Lobby Boy
David Adamik
as Lobby Boy
Lucas Hedges
as Pump Attendant
Hannes Wegener
as Soldier
Gerry Sullivan
as Soldier
Oliver Hazell
as Soldier
Ben Howard
as Soldier
Marko Dyrlich
as Zig-Zag
Ed Munro
as "Boy with Apple" (Model)
Enrico Hoffmann
as Footmen (1932)
Daniel Steiner
as Anatole
Marie Goyette
as Housekeeper (1932)
Jeno Orosz
as Doormen (1932)
Gyula Lukács
as Doormen (1923)
Darin Damjanow
as Chauffeur
Dar Ronge
as Crippled Shoeshine Boy
Georg Rittmannsperger
as Front Desk (1932)
Dirk Bossmann
as Front Desk (1932)
Arwin Lobedann
as Front Desk (1932)
Robin Hurlstone
as Herr Schneider
Jutta Westphal
as Frau Liebling
Matthias Holfert
as Chef (1923)
Lisa Kreuzer
as Grandes Dame
Gisela Bech
as Grandes Dame
Birgit Müller
as Grandes Dame
Ursula Kuhnt
as Grandes Dame
Monika Krüger
as Grandes Dame
Francesco Holoubek
as Footmen (1932)
Wolfram Nielacny
as Herr Becker
Reinhold Hegelow
as Head Waiter (1932)
Steffen Nixdorf
as Second Waiter (1932)
Rainer Reiners
as Herr Mendl
Piet Paes
as Taxi Driver
Michaela Caspar
as Marguerite
Sabine Urig
as Laetizia
Roy Macready
as Old Man
John Peet
as Young Man
Carl Sprague
as Distant Relation
Golo Euler
as Lutz Police Militia
Jürgen Schwämmle
as Lutz Police Militia
Frank Jacob
as Giant Convict
Claudia Junge
as Usherette
Roman Berger
as Parcel Inspector
Matthais Matschke
as Prison Guard
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News & Interviews for The Grand Budapest Hotel

Critic Reviews for The Grand Budapest Hotel

All Critics (265) | Top Critics (56)

"The Grand Budapest Hotel" is not his grandest work yet, but it is one worth an extended stay.

Full Review… | January 2, 2015
Film.com
Top Critic

The mannered, madcap proceedings are often delightful, occasionally silly, and here and there, gruesome and/or heartbreaking.

Full Review… | January 2, 2015
San Diego Reader
Top Critic

I like Anderson when he's making movies about childhood -- "Rushmore," or "Fantastic Mr. Fox" -- but when he ventures into the realm of adulthood, he seems out of his jurisdiction.

Full Review… | January 2, 2015
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

Grand isn't good enough a word for this Budapest Hotel. Great is more like it.

Full Review… | January 2, 2015
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Anderson's films are too precious for some, but for those of us willing to lose ourselves in them, they're a delight. "The Grand Budapest Hotel" is no different, except that he has added a hint of gravitas to the mix, improving the recipe.

Full Review… | January 2, 2015
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

The movie is a flume ride through the imagination of one of the most creative minds making movies today, and the pleasure curls your toes. Also, be ready to crave some macaroons.

Full Review… | March 21, 2014
Miami Herald
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Grand Budapest Hotel

Anderson's grandest film to date is a thrilling ride and a visually dazzling pastiche - deliciously preposterous, entertaining and hilarious in the same measure, with a fantastic soundtrack and a phenomenal production design like nothing he has ever made before.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

A host of comic book characters in typical Wes Anderson style set in a fantasy country not unlike Eastern Europe in a fantasy time not unlike the 1930s with pretty and playful cinematography not unlike a Jeunet movie. Another tour de force by Ralph Fiennes, the sophisticated hotel proprietor dedicated to bringing civilisation to the uncouth "modern" age.

Ross Collins
Ross Collins

Super Reviewer

When I reviewed Moonrise Kingdom more than two years ago, I complained that it was hard to form strong emotional bonds with the characters because the entire film felt overly choreographed. While Wes Anderson's brilliance as a cinematic craftsman was never really in any doubt, it all felt a little too tightly controlled to pass muster as a genuinely heartwarming story about young love and free spirits. The Grand Budapest Hotel is equally meticulous in its craft, but is a much better vehicle for Anderson. Its status as a caper comedy places a much more conscious emphasis on the various plot machinations, allowing him to show off his knowledge of and affection for cinema without undermining or overshadowing his characters. The result is a very funny slice of finely-tuned frivolity which finds Anderson almost back to his best. As with all of Anderson's work, The Grand Budapest Hotel looks absolutely beautiful. There is the same powdery quality to the colour scheme as in Moonrise Kingdom, but the emphasis has shifted from summery yellows and woody browns to darker, more regal blues and frothy pinks. Anderson's compositions are as meticulous as ever, and the film utilises many of his familiar tricks, such as symmetrical wide shots, carefully timed circular pans and quirky model shots. As with all of Anderson's films, however, there are unusual narrative quirks which can sometimes threaten to make the experience too arch and alienating to bond with the characters. In this case, there is his device of handing over the telling of the story from one person to another. The film begins with a lady reading a book in front of a statue of Tom Wilkinson; then Wilkinson (the author of the book) hands over to Jude Law (his younger self); then Law talks to F. Murray Abraham, who finally begins to recount his memories. It's easy to understand the point that Anderson is making through this device. He is positively besotted with the art of storytelling and is trying to convey that love through a visual medium rather than a literary one. There's also a sly nod with the casting of Abraham, since Amadeus employed a similar device of its main character recounting the story in his old age. But while this device is affectionate, it is not entirely necessary to the story being told, and your enjoyment therein will depend on whether you regard it as an apt demonstration of passion or a needless indulgence. To some extent, this dilemma is presented in the visuals of the film. While the main action takes place in the early-1930s, with the horrors of World War II still far away, the introduction takes place in the late-1960s. Interwar opulence and luxury is counterpointed with Soviet-era functionality, and by repeating mechanical actions in both periods (such as the strange transport to the hotel), an air of decline and melancholy quickly descends upon proceedings. Having created an intriguing mood, Anderson gives us a number of quirky, interesting characters with whom we bond and whom we find very funny. Much of the praise has deservedly centred on Ralph Fiennes, who is absolutely brilliant as Gustave H.. The performance works because he believes so deeply in the character on a dramatic level; Fiennes' chops give Gustave a weight and purpose which an out-and-out comic actor would not have achieved. It's an irresitible blend of whimsy, pathos, elegance and mischief, and may be one of the best performances of Fiennes' illustrious career. As I mentioned in my Moonrise Kingdom review, much of the pleasure of Anderson's films comes from him getting performances out of actors that no-one would have expected. It's not too much of a stretch to have Willem Dafoe as a thug in knuckle-dusters, or Jeff Goldblum as a stuffy, by-the-book lawyer (who ends up losing his fingers). But it is a pleasant surprise to see Adrian Brody as the villain of the piece, or Tilda Swinton as Gustave's elderly lover whose death sets off the entire caper. In executing the caper aspect of the film, Anderson plays a very crafty trick. The quirkiness of his characters leads us to accept that they will speak in a manner which is different to our own; we accept this within the first five minutes as part of the overall style. This quirkiness allows him to have characters delivering exposition at break-neck speed, and yet it feels like a long joke rather than plot details. There are numerous scenes in The Grand Budapest Hotel which are just characters reciting plot exposition directly to camera, something that would have been roundly lambasted had the film been helmed by another director. But rather than do as Alfred Hitchcock did and "sugar-coat" exposition with suspense, Anderson deliberately draws attention to it and uses it to celebrate the caper genre in all its ridiculousness. It's not so much hidden in plain sight as a Brechtian device, with the film constantly reminding you of its artificiality. This is further reflected in the film's set-pieces. Take the hysterically funny sledging sequence, in which Gustave and Zero chase Jopling down a slalom course and ski jump, ending with Zero flinging Jopling off a cliff. The close-ups are achieved with the Hollywood technique of back projection, while the aerial shots are consciously done with detailed scale models. It's arguably just a massive Hitchcock reference, looking back to the skiing scene in the opening of The Man Who Knew Too Much. Like Bertolt Brecht's work, The Grand Budapest Hotel draws our attention to the artificial, mechanical nature of the story in order to illuminate some deeper, universal truth. On top of being a great, frothy caper, the film is about the passing of an age and with it a particular kind of character. Gustave is characterised throughoutt as being the last of a breed, someone already out of sorts in his own time and longing for release. The film presents its own fictional take on the build-up to World War II, with Gustave coming across like a lighter, more dandyish companion to Christopher Tietjens, the protagonist of Parade's End. The true success of Anderson's film is that it allows you to enjoy it on whichever level you please. It operates on the same principle as Gladiator: it is both a philosophical exploration of death, morality and a life beyond this, and two hours of people hitting each other. You can read into The Grand Budapest Hotel's colour schemes, seeing the pink motif as a symbol of faded passion and sexuality, or you can just sit there laughing louder and louder at the brilliant action. Both responses are valid, and while the film is not as deep as Gladiator, it deserves praise for achieving this balance. The Great Budapest Hotel sees Anderson returning to form, delivering a film whose whimsy and quirkiness is anchored and balanced by enjoyable, empathetic characters. While some will still balk at his approach to storytelling, and it isn't as thematically rich as perhaps it could have been, it is still an immensely enjoyable, funny and rewarding watch. It is a good way to introduce newcomers to Anderson's signature style, and is one of the most enjoyable films of 2014.

Daniel Mumby
Daniel Mumby

Super Reviewer

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