You might think that a movie called THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL was some kind of European art film, but it's actually a very funny comedy made in Germany by an American born in Texas, the eccentric director, Wes Anderson.
Anderson's movies have a highly artificial style (THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS, RUSHMORE, MOONRISE KINGDOM), and I've never especially liked any of them until this one.
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL is both silly and sophisticated with a great performance by Ralph Fiennes as the aristocratic concierge of a luxury hotel in the 1930's.
Gustave H: Why do you want to be a lobby boy?
Zero: Who wouldn't at the Crown Budapest, Sir?
Zero (voice over): And so my life began, a junior lobby boy in training under the strict command of Mr. Gustave H. Many of the hotels most valued and distinguished guests (rich old women) came for him.
Old Lady: I love you.
Gustave H: I love you.
Ralph Fiennes is Gustave H, the always polite and proper concierge whose devotion to service and good manners knows no bounds. His unlikely friendship with Zero, the lobby boy played by newcomer Tony Revolori is at the center of the film. But it is his relationship with a wealthy 84 year old countess played by Tilda Swinton that sets the plot in motion.
Countess: I feel this may be the last time we ever see each other.
Gustavae H: Why on earth would that be the case?
Countess: I can't put it into words, but I feel it.
And in fact, soon after the lady's departure from the hotel, word comes that she has died. So Zero and Gustave H set off to pay their respects.
Gustave H (looking at the countess' body in a coffin): "You're looking so well darling. I don't know what sort of cream they put on you down at the morgue, but I want some.
The old lady's family is outraged when they learn that she has willed Gustave a very expensive painting. And when Gustave takes the painting before the legal issues are settled, lots of zany misadventures ensue including a brief prison stay which doesn't change Gustave's bearing one bit.
Gustave (pushing a food cart in prison): May I offer any of you inmates a plate of mush?
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL features oddball characters played by a large number well known Hollywood actors who all seem to be having a great time. But it's the refined sensibility of Gustave H that gives this delightful film its heart and soul.
Gustav to Zero: You see there are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity.
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now