Asteroid City

Wes Anderson movies are an acquired taste and, unfortunately, I seem to have acquired the taste. It was Grand Budapest Hotel that really did me in. I love it. And while no other Wes Anderson movie is in the same ballpark (I merely survived The French Dispatch), I enjoyed his Roald Dahl shorts and – rather more – Asteroid City. Though Asteroid City lacks as compelling a story or central character as GBH, it gets surprising emotional mileage out of several of its plot strands and more than a few laughs along the way. It’s damn funny.

Scarlett Johannsson and Jason Schwartzman are brilliant together in a painful (literally) yet fully engaging quasi-romance. Likewise, Tom Hanks, Schwartzman and Jake Ryan as Schwartzman’s brainiac son make an affecting and unusual family trio struggling with their mutual loss. I loved, in particular, all the kids. They somehow survive Wes Anderson’s flattening to deliver performances that, when together, feel utterly natural and unusually true. (Amazon)

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