Movie Review: The French Dispatch (2021)

Maybe with good luck we’ll find what eluded us in the places we once called home.

-Roebuck Wright-

There are not major spoilers in this review!!!

A Nod to the Newspaper

The French Dispatch is the tenth movie directed by Wes Anderson where he pretty much had control over everything about the production. As with any Wes Anderson film, it’s full of semi-plots weaved into a bigger plot that usually revolves around a patriarch in a family or boss at a business that is at odds with his children or underlings. Yet, he has just enough compassion where he isn’t a 100% jerk. While it was filmed in 2018 and 2019, the movie was delayed in its release due to COVID. Anderson breaks the movie down into sizable bites to swallow where he crafts them into manageable stories, so the viewer doesn’t get overwhelmed or that’s my belief anyway. It shouldn’t be a surprise for those who’ve seen other Anderson movies that Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, Anjelica Huston, Willem Dafoe, Liev Schreiber, Edward Norton, and more starred in this movie. This dramedy is rated R and is one hour and 43 minutes long.

The Breakdown of The French Dispatch

The French Dispatch is about Arthur Howitzer Jr. and how his writers and staff deal and react to his last request in his will. The movie begins with the introduction of the office where all the major players meet to discuss their stories throughout the movie and what they need to edit to make Howitzer happy. We next move onto the task of them finding what to publish for the next issue. Each of the writers have their own tastes and styles from comparisons of past and present-day Ennui-sur-Blasé, concentration of the tortured artist and his muse, young revolutionaries who have a fondness for chess, and kidnapping that involves a ransom. The final say is always Howitzer and even in his absence, his writers and staff find themselves lost without him.

Watch the Trailer

Overall View of The French Dispatch

The best part of this movie was the great ensemble of cast. I have to hand it to everything that happened behind the scenes. The production design is one of the best for a realistic fictional city in France. The dialogue is so good that I call it wicked sick. The opening shot was superb. I expected nothing less. Benicio del Toro killed it in this movie. His scenes with his muse called Simone, played by Léa Seydoux, were some of my favorite interactions. The whole movie was great from start to finish although a few scenes I wondered about their necessity. I wanted something more to chew on while I waited for the next scene although this is pretty minor in the whole scheme of things. I recommend The French Dispatch who is yearning to watch a stylized movie and laugh during the scenes where the facial reactions are on point by the cast. Also, it’s not a bad way to spend your time watching actors and actresses you recognize but don’t know their names. His next movie is called Asteroid City. I can’t wait.

The French Dispatch gets FOUR FINGERS and ONE THUMB of 94%

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