The French Dispatch: why opinions are so mixed

The French Dispatch is described as Wes Anderson in its most technically “Andersonian” form, but the style and structure have failed to win over many critics.

Wes Anderson returns to the big screen with The French dispatch, although reviews were mixed when it was released. The French dispatch (2021) debuts as Wes Anderson’s 10th film, following his stop-motion animated feature The island of dogs in 2018. It is also his first live-action film since the Oscar-winning film The Grand Hotel Budapest in 2014, with many of the same actors returning as part of Anderson’s cast. Aside from his now 10-time collaborator Bill Murray, The French dispatch Also features Anderson’s debut by Timotheé Chalamet, who was also the headliner for Denis Villeneuve Dune opening the same weekend of October 2021.

Among Anderson’s directorial feature films, The French dispatch Surprisingly low rates on Rotten Tomatoes at just 74% for critics, but holds an admirable 82% plus among audiences. His other films (apart from that of Anderson directed by Bill Murray Aquatic life with Steve Zissou), are generally greeted with poor or very positive reviews. Fantastic Mr. Fox and Moonrise Kingdom share Anderson’s highest score at 93%, followed by The Grand Hotel Budapest (92%). The French dispatch falls between Anderson’s beloved feature The Royal Tenenbaums (81%) and his lesser-known photo of a brother Darjeeling Limited (69%).

Related: The Royal Tenenbaums Is Wes Anderson’s Best Picture

With all new narrative and technical designs for the director, The French dispatch follows the journalists of the titular magazine and their articles presented in a specific issue. The stories are separated by reporters in the press room, a brief travelogue, a talk about a prisoner who is a talented painter, a focus on a young revolutionary from 1968 and an article on The French dispatchfrom the local chef of l’Ennui-sur-Blasé who turns into culminating kidnapping capers. While praising Anderson’s all-star cast, classic cinematography, and tongue-in-cheek humor business cards, critics pointed out that the director’s typical dynamics and premise focused on characters ultimately failed. The French dispatch, leaving the film to address Anderson’s more loyal audience. Here’s what some reviewers have said about The French dispatchniche target of and how its tangle of stories failed:

Elisabeth Moss, Owen Wilson, Tilda-Swinton, Fisher Stevens and Griffin-Dunne from The French Dispatch

Rotten tomatoes:

A loving ode to the spirit of journalism, The French Dispatch will be most loved by fans of Wes Anderson’s meticulously arranged aesthetic.. “

The Guardian:

The problem with the structure of the anthology … is that it is almost inevitably uneven. And as engaging as the film’s final story is … patience will be strained by the segment that precedes it.. “


As someone who, with a few exceptions, generally has a liking for Anderson’s work, I have come to accept that his films cannot and should not be forced on resistance fighters. This is more true than ever when it comes to the almost unbearable film of the brand The French Dispatch …. “


For Wes-heads, The French Dispatch is probably satisfactory. Stylistically, The French Dispatch is Anderson working at the height of his powers. I can’t help but wonder if the frenzied pastiche and unbridled nostalgia of this movie have weakened my ability to enjoy it. He feels hollow. “

Although cliché, a lot of The French dispatchThe critics of have come to the same conclusion: if you like Wes Anderson movies, you will like The French dispatch. The general consensus on the style of the film is that it is about Wes Anderson at his most Andersonian, which essentially means viewers will see his iconic color palettes, deadpan humor, quirky characters, and constantly changing proportions to a higher level. In this case, we can assume that The New Yorker inspired by magazines The French dispatch is more of a passion project enhanced by the technique aimed at his love of journalism, art and their intersection than a narrative with in-depth characters. This explains much of the division among critics; those who are fans of Wes Anderson and appreciate his technical style to its cinematic maximum are better able to find a much deeper respect for the film, while others believed The French dispatchThe technical emphasis has resulted in an overlooked narrative. It’s a very Wes Anderson movie, but in a faster, smaller focus on the characters, as it intelligently navigates a full narrative of how one would read a magazine issue. Here’s what the positive reviews said about The French dispatch:

Timothée Chalamet, Jeffery Wright and Léa Seydoux in The French Dispatch

The French Dispatch keeps the audience at bay … and is a stronger film for them. Watching Anderson follow his obsession to the outer limits is fascinating. The movie can be hard to explain, but it’s a lot of fun to watch. This is a fast paced wacky movie about a very slow immutable world. “

The AV Club:

Unboxing The French Dispatch’s touchstone library would require multiple viewings and perhaps a bibliography. Key to The French Dispatch’s sly resonance, nestled in the spaces between its moving parts, is Anderson’s balance between reverence and irreverence.. “

The New York Times:

A certain amount of pleasure that you find in “The French Dispatch” may come from your appreciation of the cultural moments and the artefacts it evokes. Anderson expresses a fan’s zeal and a collector’s greed for both canonical works and weird junk, a love for old modernisms that is neither dogmatic nor sentimental.. “


So while there is no overall narrative or overlap between the segments, Anderson is clearly the author of the five – as there is no living filmmaker with a more recognizable visual signature, and every image of “The French Dispatch” is undoubtedly his. Thus, the unconventional project succeeds in offering this very special mish-mash pleasure of reading a well-organized issue from cover to cover.

That critics liked the cast and characters of The French dispatch or found it less universally appealing, the consensus is that the film requires a second look to make proper judgment. The French dispatch features Anderson’s most common nostalgia theme while serving as a love letter to journalism thanks to its classic stylistic twist, but its fast-paced, anthological narrative, and shifting proportions and colors may not appeal to an audience less inclined to Andersonian. Anderson’s film stylistically and narratively plays like the type of magazine it pays homage to, which may or may not deter an audience unfamiliar or indifferent to its intentions and unconventional aesthetic.

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