Discover the magical world of the iconic filmmaker behind the TikTok sensation.
Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve probably come across several videos showcasing the distinctive Wes Anderson style lately on TikTok and Instagram. Those sun-kissed photo filters, super wide-angled shots, and pastel hues were trying to replicate a vibe that may have seemed familiar to you.
Well, though the name may not ring a bell, most likely you’ve come across one of his critically acclaimed films. Known for his distinct visual flair, unconventional storytelling techniques, and an ensemble of talented cast members, Anderson fearlessly delves into themes of grief, dysfunctional families, and the beautifully chaotic spectrum of human emotions.
The Best Wes Anderson Movies to Watch
Prepare to be captivated as you embark on a cinematic journey—like that of those TikTok viral posts—that will leave an indelible mark on your heart and mind with Wes Anderson’s creative vision and remarkable directorial prowess.
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
Based on a children’s book authored by Roald Dahl, Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox is his first take on stop-motion animation—identified by Rotten Tomatoes as his best film yet. Voiced by George Clooney, Meryl Steep, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson, Jarvis Cocker, and Willem Dafoe, the film tells the story of the clever and charismatic Mr. Fox, who’s known for his knack of stealing from three wealthy farmers: Boggis, Bunce, and Bean. The film is creatively filled with adventure, humor, and heartwarming moments of growing up, loving your family, and letting go of the things you deem important for the benefit of those you love.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Adapted from Beware of Pity, The Grand Budapest Hotel brings the audience on a whimsical journey set in the fictional European country of Zubrowka in the 1930s. The story tells the story of Gustave H., the legendary concierge of the Grand Budapest Hotel, and his trusted protégé, who was once a junior lobby boy, Zero Moustafa. Together, they embarked on a series of misadventures involving a priceless painting, family fortune, and the pursuit of justice in a rapidly changing world.
The Grand Budapest Hotel has been much credited for its eccentric production design, meticulous attention to detail, and star-studded ensemble cast, led by Ralph Fiennes. Wes Anderson’s witty and compelling narrative that thrives through friendship, loyalty, and the fleeting nature of time is a testament to how creative the filmmaker is.
To get to know more about the celebrated filmmaker, it’s also great to take a look at his early release and his first big Hollywood break, Rushmore. While this may not be as popular as his current works, it is undeniable that this marked his entry into filmography as he further explores narrations that delve into youth, ambition, and unrequited love.
Rushmore follows the story of a beautiful first-grade teacher whose arrival at a prestigious prep school disrupts the everyday turn of events. Among the enamored students is Max, an ambitious teenager played by Jason Schwartzman, who finds himself helplessly captivated by her charm. Desperate to win her affection, Max turns to his schoolmate’s father, portrayed by the talented Bill Murray, for guidance. However, their innocent quest takes an unexpected twist when Max’s newfound confidant also becomes entangled with the teacher, leading their once harmonious relationship to evolve into fierce competition for her attention.
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
A tribute to Jacques Cousteau, this American adventure comedy-drama by Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach follows the story of the eccentric and renowned oceanographer Steve Zissou, who embarks on a mission to track down and seek revenge on a mythical shark that killed his partner during a documentary shoot. The journey then leads them to overwhelming and complicated pursuits, including pirates, kidnapping, and bankruptcy—a unique blend of adventure, introspection, and, of course, Wes Anderson’s classic offbeat charm.
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Set on the small New England island town of New Penzance in the 1960s, this coming-of-age film by Wes Anderson tells the enchanting tale of unconventional lovers Sam and Suzy, who decided to run away together, resulting in a search party led by the island’s quirky inhabitants, including that of Suzy’s parents, the island’s scout troop, and the local police captain.
This heartfelt movie confronts themes of the shortcomings and complexities of young love, adventure, and the bittersweet nature of navigating through adulthood. Led by Jarel Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, and Bill Murray, this whimsical tale captures Anderson’s signature visual style, deadpan humor, and heartwarming moments of youth against the backdrop of a charming, idiosyncratic world.
If you can’t get enough of these movies, then feel free to explore other Wes Anderson films, including The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), Isle of Dogs (2018), Bottle Rocket (1996), The French Dispatch (2021), The Darjeeling Limited (2007), and his upcoming release Asteroid City.
Cover image credit: Focus Features – © 2012 Focus Features