The French Dispatch, A Review

Esme Lee

Delayed by the pandemic and highly anticipated throughout the cinematic world for over a year, The French Dispatch was finally released in October of 2021. When watching anything by the notable and distinctive director, Wes Anderson, you never quite know what to expect. His movies have only gotten pronounced since his earliest works: Bottle Rocket (1996) and Rushmore (1998). Each contains a certain quality and style like no other. Even in the animated Fantastic Mr. Fox and Isle of the Dogs, Anderson is still able to capture his signature cinematography and flamboyant characters. 

The French Dispatch is no exception to these past patterns, if anything, it is the most ‘Wes Anderson’ Wes Anderson film yet. Prioritizing style over substance and filmed entirely in France, the country in which Anderson lives, this tribute to journalism and The New Yorker, was clearly filmed with love and genius. Actors such as Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Willem Dafoe, and Saoirse Ronan return to Wes’s cast from previous movies along with new additions like Timothee Chalamet, Jeffrey Wright, Benicio Del Toro, Alex Lawther, Cristopher Waltz and many more.

As an anthology, it contains something for everyone. Made up of four separate stories, each filled with color and exuberance, The French Dispatch is a perfect blend of everything. We start with a depiction of the little town Ennui, to a lecture on the story of prisoner/artist Moses Rosenthaler, to a first-hand account of a dramatic French youth rebellion, and finally a piece on a talented police-station chef review turned kidnapping adventure. Beginning and ending in the office of the magazine perfectly ties up each of the writer’s work and legacy.

It’s honestly impossible to put the beauty of the movie into fitting words as it is meant to be seen and heard and enjoyed by the people.