The French Dispatch

The French Dispatch ★★★★★

Where to even start.

The French Dispatch feels, in some ways, a culmination of the past two decades or so of Anderson's career. All of the stars, all of his "guys", are unified under one sprawling, totalizing anthology, a love letter to writing and creativity and art and, most of all, love. The love between a father and a son, the love between an artist and his muse, the love between two people, the love between one person and a good meal.

The true protagonist of this film is the fictional French city of Ennui-sur-Blasé, which is expanded upon across the three primary stories and interstitials. This narrative structure allows Anderson to construct the city as he sees fit, infusing his creative vision into every crack and crevice.

The lead performances are incredible; Jeffrey Wright, Benicio del Toro, Lea Seydoux and Owen Wilson left the deepest impression on me. Equally impressive, though, is the talent that barely appears at all. Christoph Waltz is given 1 line and appears in a total of 3 shots. Elisabeth Moss has 2 scenes and single-digit lines. True, A-list talent, incredible performers, appear in the background of scenes just because they want to work with Anderson, and the French Dispatch is clear evidence as to why, exactly, that is.

It’s funnier than maybe any other Anderson picture, with tasteful slapstick and snappy dialogue and grand irony. The filmmaking craft is incomparable, technically. Some of the camera movements and editing decisions made my jaw drop. What can be said? It’s Andersonian, stylistically self-evident in a way very, very few directors could ever even dream of achieving.

Frankly, one viewing does not do The French Dispatch justice, at least not in my mind, I can’t help but feel that, with the pace the film clipped along at, I missed so much and already have forgotten so much. What has stuck with me, though, are moments both big and small, important and not. It’s a beautiful, fast moving little masterpiece, a love letter to France, to food, to family, to art, to love.

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