The Grand Budapest Hotel has finally placed Wes Anderson in the firmament of Oscar-nominated directors, a relief for those of us who’ve long been enamoured of his precisely arranged, symmetrical storybook-style narratives. As well as a nomination for best animated film for Fantastic Mr Fox, he’d previously received screenplay nods for The Royal Tenenbaums (still my favourite) and Moonrise Kingdom, a coming-of-age love story set in a gorgeous New England island wilderness in 1965. It’s a sensual comic delight, with the central relationship between Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward’s 12-year-old runaways always lovingly and innocently depicted while a search party of responsible adults act like big kids, among them Edward Norton’s incompetent scoutmaster, Bruce Willis’s brusque police captain and the girl’s eccentric parents, Bill Murray and Frances McDormand. Easier to get into than the more wilfully remote The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, this would be a nice place to start for Anderson newcomers. The Benjamin Britten tunes are lovely, too.
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