The works of Wes Anderson have always held a special spot in my heart. His films mostly deal with grief within a family, loss of childishness, and children behaving like adults. Small people trying to act big. This subject speaks to me a lot. It is because I, myself, admire young people having a voice that challenges those of the grown-ups, for I am one of these young people.
My love for the cinema was the reason I came across a Wes Anderson film. I was thirteen when I first watched one of his films. As if fate had it all figured out, the film was also his directorial debut. Bottle Rocket (1996) was a subtle and psychological look at two friends and the huge conflicts with existing in the middle of what is supposed to be good and bad in general. The feeling of watching reality unfold in the television screen stayed with me even after the credits start to roll.
However, it wasn’t until The Royal Tenenbaums wherein I truly felt Mr. Anderson’s influence. It is an offbeat comedy about a dysfunctional family attempting to reconnect after years of being apart. The Royal Tenenbaums was released in 2001, ironically the same year I was born. Also, I would also like to point out that Tenenbaums is the epitome of a Wes Anderson film. I particularly adored the unconventional aesthetics and his use of pastel colors reflected in the characters’ style of clothing. Mr. Anderson is also a fan of close-ups and track shots which ultimately turn a simple scene into a head-on cinematic experience reminiscent of those works from the Nouvelle Vague in the French Cinema during the 50s and the 60s.
In the film, the children- Chas, Richie, and the adopted Margot- are all prodigies and have already achieved massive success at such young age yet they have a rather rough relationship with their egocentric and selfish father, Royal Tenenbaum who eventually left them. Now grown up and living their own lives, they find themselves sleeping under the same roof once again courtesy to their father’s dire condition. Turns out Royal Tenenbaum had falsely claimed that he has cancer to rekindle whatever relationship is left to rekindle. The film concluded to Nick Drake’s Fly and the sentiment of family being family no matter what happens.
After a few years, I watched another of his most definitive film, Moonrise Kingdom which left me in such a wistful and far-away state. The image of Sam and Suzy, both 12 years old yet having the hearts and souls of adults living in the ripe age of the 40s, slow-dancing to the swishing sound of the wind and the crashing waves of the beach became a symbol of youth for me and what it truly means to be young and alive and spirited.
I can definitely say that Mr. Anderson changed how I felt about the world and how it embitters me sometimes. His films depict abandonment, mental frailty, the bittersweet aftertaste of preteen heartbreak (most evident in Rushmore), and how the lack of family affinity can turn you into a hateful and cynical person. But in the end, who you are and what your thoughts are- these are the only things you can carry until your last breath. Mr. Anderson taught me that it is possible to listen to yourself and hear the rest of the world simultaneously.