The One and Only, Wes Anderson


Kate Hutner

     Wes Anderson, an American film director, is known for his films that leave the audience in wonder. He has mastered the art of symmetry, harmony, and balance, leaving the audience craving more. From a young age, Anderson looked to art for an outlet. It allowed him to escape from his daily life, whether it was freeing his mind from the hardships of his parents’ divorce or from the strict ways of his school. Once Anderson graduated from high school, he started his next journey: college. There he met Owen Wilson, who has been a key part of Wes Anderson’s movie-making career. Both meeting in their film writing class, they quickly became friends and roomed together for the next few years. Their relationship sparked their careers, as they started to write their first film together, “Bottle Rocket”. Initially, Anderson had planned for Wilson to be the lead in the short film; however, it became apparent that serious drama was not Wilson’s forte. From this point on, writing movies consumed much of the roommates’ time. As Anderson began to create more films, he grew in popularity. Not only did Anderson’s films steal the hearts of many, but they also often starred Wilson. As a result, both roommates received acclaim and fame. The two developed an unbreakable bond. 

     Once Anderson adjusted to his popularity, he started to develop his style. He is known for his detail-riched shots and dry dialogue, as well as his iconic, creative and strange storylines. Within Anderson’s first film, “Bottle Rocket”, his directive style is not visible, making the film feel like a practice round for true fans. This is not to say that “Bottle Rocket” was not a creative piece of work, as it does indeed hold some stylized shots. However, the beginning film style shows very little of the Anderson we know and love.  He struggled with his first few movies, such as “Rushmore”, “The Royal Tenenbaums”, and debatably even “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou”, to capture those whimsical shots he is known for. As he grew in experience and knowledge, his style started to form into the Wes Anderson many respect today—the Anderson with the dreamlike taste to his movies, summed with rhythmic scenes and flushed with detail from every corner of the screen. 

Student Reviews:

     “Moonrise Kingdom”-Evan Spice-Grade 12- personal Rating= 9/10

“Moonrise Kingdom” is widely regarded as Anderson’s best film, and for very good reasons. While still featuring all of Anderson’s staple filmmaking techniques such as his symmetrical framing, the characters’ flat delivery of their lines, and smooth rolling camerawork, it also offers a romantic comedy story like nothing else he has done before. The story of “Moonrise Kingdom” begins when Sam, a khaki scout unsatisfied with his life, attends a local play with his troop and sneaks backstage where his eye is caught by a young girl dressed as a raven, Suzy. The two become pen pals and as they continue to grow closer, form a plan to run away together and leave behind their unhappy lives and explore the island they live on. As they adventure, the kids must find a way to avert the number of threats to their journey, such as the local authorities, the khaki scout troop, and an impending storm on the horizon. With scene after scene of beautiful colors and dry humor, “Moonrise Kingdom” is a great introductory film into the world of Wes Anderson, and one that I would recommend to everyone, even if they don’t hold any interest in the rest of his work.”

     “The Grand Budapest”- 92%- Gaia Splendore-Grade 11- Personal Rating=9/10

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” is quite possibly the best Wes Anderson movie out there. From the symmetrical shots to witty, sharp humor, this film radiates the director’s style and personality. The movie is quick-paced, encapsulating a wide variety of plot lines and elements. For example, this movie manages to fit in a murder mystery and art heist all in its hour and forty minutes run time. Also, don’t forget about the frame narrative within a frame narrative within a frame narrative! One of the best things about this movie, and really all of Anderson’s work, is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s humorous and lighthearted, offering a pleasant and engaging experience. Overall, the movie is incredibly fun and beautiful to watch.”

     “The French Dispatch”- 75%- Leo Walker- Grade 11- Personal Rating=9/10

“My favorite thing about Anderson movies are the colors and the way that the frames are set up, and this movie captures both of those things exceptionally well. The colors are vibrant and warm and he uses a lot of yellow, pinks, and blues which make me feel calm. The dedication to the symmetry also makes his movies visually satisfying.” 

     “Fantastic Mr. Fox”- 93%- Kealynn Tunks- Grade 11- Personal Rating= 7.5/10

“I believe this film most accurately portrays Wes Anderson’s style of directing, leaving the audience with a slightly eerie feel for seemingly no reason. This is one of my personal favorites of his movies because I believe there’s an underlying message about corporate corruption in our society.”


     “Isle of the Dogs”-90% tomatoes- Kate Hutner -Grade 12- Personal Rating= 7/10.

“Isle of the Dogs” is an iconic movie produced by Wes Anderson. It is an animation, holding differences within the shots taken for this movie. Although it still maintains the iconic bland and dry dialogue, it has a different effect than the characters of real-life Anderson movies because it does not capture the beautiful sceneries of real-time. It is more dark and more somber in times, creating a different effect. “Isle of the Dogs” is still a must watch for Wes Anderson movies; however, it does not give the same effect as some of his other movies do, causing more feelings of dislike towards this movie.“