Wes Anderson’s Whimsy Goes Too Far

Wes Anderson’s newest film, The French Dispatch, was released October 22nd to extraordinary box office sales. Anderson’s storytelling style, known for its characteristic eccentricity, has generally been esteemed for its ability to represent strong and specific feelings and nostalgia. The Grand Budapest Hotel, for example, manages to exquisitely capture both decadence and decay in twentieth century Europe. Reviews of the French Dispatch, however, have been quite mixed. While many laud the impressive effort to fit so much content, allusions, and storylines into a single film, others — such as the David Sims of The Atlantic — feel that it fails to reach the type of balance that made previous films so good, but the absence of which in The French Dispatch makes it a “103-minute sprint [that] ends up feeling like a marathon.” A recurring theme I’ve noticed in many lessons we’ve covered in class — as well as through trial and error on projects — is how vital balance is to good design and art. At least for me, I had always subscribed to the belief that the more good things you added and the harder you tried, the better your end result would be. However, the truth is that being able to discern when you’ve reached a balance that best suits your work is one of the key characteristics of good designer and artists. You can read more about The French Dispatch in The Atlantic here.

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