Wes Anderson is known for his dollhouse, over-the-top aesthetic, tapestries of pastel colors and characters with baggage they’re still working through or have yet to even acknowledge. His most recent film “Asteroid City” falls right in line with the Anderson calling card.
Released on May 23, “Asteroid City” stars Jason Schwartzman and Scarlett Johansson alongside a star-studded cast that boasts acting legends like Tom Hanks and younger stars like Margot Robbie.
Set around 1955, the film features a group of space cadets and a family who get trapped in a small town due to unforeseen circumstances. Taking the play-within-a-play approach, a play called “Asteroid City” is shown within the movie that tells this story.
Though the plot is inaccessible and confusing for the average moviegoer, this film feels like the culmination of Anderson’s previous works.
Anderson’s intense adherence to this aesthetic established him as one of few modern-day directors with continued relevance. He leans heavily into his famous aesthetic for the majority of the film, featuring beautiful landscape shots of the desert in Arizona intercepted with conversations between the main characters and the play setting. Every shot in this film is a work of art.
Ironic and inexplicably sad, Anderson’s characters are trapped in their own pain, and we must watch as they try to unravel and understand those feelings.
The film builds to a few beautifully acted moments which left my jaw on the floor and shattered my heart into a million pieces. These moments made the film worth watching and shed light on the questions the characters bring up over the course of the film.
Johansson and Schwartzman’s unique chemistry plays into their characters’ awkwardness around each other. The young supporting cast skillfully capture intense emotions that actors their age often struggle with. The only letdown comes from film veteran Steve Carell, who seems to be repeating his Michael Scott days.
This film is not for everyone or even for most people, but it was for me. Anderson’s beautifully-crafted universe and intertwined characters managed to rip my heart out and stitch it back together in less than two hours.