for Best Costume Design, Makeup and hairstyling, Original score, Production Design
NOMINEE FOR: Best Picture, Directing, Original screenplay, Cinematography, Film editing
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Reviewed by: Pamela Karpelenia
Crime Comedy Drama
1 hr. 40 min.
Year of Release:
March 7, 2014 (select—4 theaters)
March 28, 2014 (wide—977 theaters)
DVD: June 17, 2014
oy with Apple”
When I saw the cast list for “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” there was no question that I wanted to see this film. The story opens with a young girl with a book titled you guessed it, The Grand Budapest Hotel
. She glances up to a bust statue of the author of the book. We soon hear the narration of the story within a story. Tom Wilkinson
(author) recounts his visit and encounter with a mysterious man rumored to be the owner of The Grand Budapest Hotel. This flashback begins a another story within the story within a story. The author is now played by Jude Law
. The man invites the author to a dinner to tell the author of how he acquired his fortune and the hotel. This dinner flashes back and establishes yet another storyline. The man retells his story of humble beginnings as a bellboy in the hotel and his supervisor, mentor and friend Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes
)—a womanizing player who “befriends” rich, old, blond women and teaches his protégé all the ropes of running the hotel, until one of his old ladies dies under strange circumstances, leaving him a priceless Renaissance painting: “Boy with Apple.” This causes the family of the deceased woman to do whatever it takes to keep the family fortune to themselves.
Let me start with the multiple story-lines, they were simple to follow. However, the basis for the story-lines were pretentious and unnecessary. I felt the writers were trying too hard to make the film intricate, the plot was good enough without that. Moving on to the acting, two words “Top Shelf”! Every actor was on the top of their game, there were no small parts, every character was important and essential to this methodical plot. I must mention the cinematography, it was ingenious—looking like a dollhouse come to life, with the unreal realistic view of the landscape. It was visually entertaining like a Broadway play or a beautifully conducted orchestra.
That being said, there is a reason why this film is rated R. First, it is surprising violent; I wasn’t expecting that much violence. Next, would have to be the blasphemy and foul language. All the positive visual aspects, were overshadowed by the objectionable content.
It’s difficult to draw any spiritual truths from this film. There is a real attempt to redeem the lead character, persona. This attempt comes at the end, and does bring the story to a meaningful conclusion. However, with everything you see, the message of the film is somewhat untoward.
As for recommendation, the choice is yours, but if you want an uplifting film with biblical foundational truth look elsewhere.
Violence: Heavy to extreme / Profanity: Heavy—“G*d-d*mn” (8), “Dear God” (2), “Swear to God” (2), hell (2), damn (3), f-words (11), s-words (6), “pr*ck,” ass (3), a**hole, SOB (3) / Sex/Nudity: Heavy
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.