This fabulous jewel box of a film contains so many pleasures it is hard to know where to begin the unpacking. It begins as a piece of camp.
A young writer (Jude Law) is recuperating at the decaying Grand Budapest Hotel when he meets its reclusive owner, Mr Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham). The enigmatic older man tells the writer the story of M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), concierge at the hotel in the glory days of 1932, before the war would change Europe, making the hotel and all that it stood for irrelevant in modern society.
Director Wes Anderson gets everything right in this movie. It coalesces his strengths into a satisfying and coherent whole not seen since Rushmore (1998) or The Royal Tenenbaums (2001).
With the help of an ensemble of frequent collaborators, he evokes a fin de siecle setting laced with humour and love. When the credits roll, such is the skill with which he has made a fictional time and place so real and complete that it is hard not to shed a tear for its passing.
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