Wes Anderson Creates A New Hit With “The French Dispatch”

The French Dispatch captivates audiences with its quirky storyline and beautiful cinematography.


“The French Dispatch” 2021 theatrical release poster.

Charlotte Stone, Features Editor

If you are planning to go see Wes Anderson’s newest film, “The French Dispatch,” there are a few things that you should know beforehand. First of all, Anderson is known for his very quirky style and visually stimulating films. The cinematography in these movies is mesmerizing and full of color. Secondly, all of his stories are usually told from a narrative perspective. Finally, Anderson’s storylines or plots are quite different from anything you’ve ever seen before.

Now back to “The French Dispatch.” This movie was unusual even for Anderson. It has a very unique setup that I have never seen before. The film is about a French magazine, “The French Dispatch,” that is written in a small French village but distributed in the editor’s hometown in Kansas. The editor and chief of this magazine, Arthur Howitzer (played by Bill Murray), has an interesting work ethic. He refuses to cut any of his writers’ work from the magazine and encourages all of their unique takes and writing styles.

The film begins at the time of Arthur Howitzer’s untimely death. In his will, Howitzer requests that upon his death “The French Dispatch” be dissolved. As you watch the movie, it goes through the final edition of “The French Dispatch.” Each section of the movie is a different article from the magazine narrated by its author. As a result, the film doesn’t contain a specific beginning, middle or end. This can leave the audience confused and unfulfilled, but you have to understand this setup in the context of the movie.

Anderson chose this particular setup because he wanted his film to reflect the format of an actual magazine. This ingenious choice gives the movie a more authentic feel and may be part of the reason why it’s being referred to as Anderson’s homage to journalism.

I have been an avid fan of Anderson’s movies for a while now, and there isn’t a single film he directed that I don’t love. So, when I heard that his new movie was coming out, I was ecstatic. Unfortunately, this was before COVID. Once we were out of quarantine, studios started delaying the release of movies until people felt more safe going to their local movie theaters. As a result, it wasn’t until around a year after its original release date that “The French Dispatch” finally came out in the U.S.

Trust me, this movie was definitely worth the wait. It has something for everyone, whether you’re interested in the quirky characters, the dazzling cinematography or the extreme variety of actors starring in this movie, including Timothée Chalamet, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand and Owen Wilson. I would absolutely recommend seeing it if you get the chance.