I’ve been watching Wes Anderson’s film Rushmore (1998) over the last couple of days. I’m enjoying the movie so far, but not so much for Rushmore itself. It’s more so that Rushmore is an early example of how later films like The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), Moonrise Kingdom (2012), and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) came to be. In these later films the storytelling moves from great in The Life Aquatic, to masterful in The Grand Budapest Hotel. Especially in The Grand Budapest Hotel, the storytelling is nuanced, elegant, and dainty.
Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel both focus on societal outcasts, those least able to represent themselves within bureaucratic structures. Zero is a stateless bellboy who falls helplessly in love with the fearless Agatha in The Grand Budapest Hotel. In Moonrise Kingdom the resourceful Sam and the indomitable Suzy also discover love. Both of these couples struggle because of political and social systems that are difficult to maneuver and unfair in their judgement. All four of these characters are excluded from society in some way for being different. Yet, as couples in love they are helped by their parents or mentors to become whole, both individually and together. The journey for these characters is not toward some sort of prescribed normalcy, but rather toward acceptance and inclusivity. As Sam says in Moonrise Kingdom, “poems don’t always have to rhyme, you know.”