Streaming Guide: Wes Anderson Films

In anticipation of the Asteroid City’s release, here is a list of Wes Anderson’s films available on OTT platforms in India
Streaming Guide: Wes Anderson Films

Known for his diorama-realism, his neat, playful frames, his crowded cast of oddball characters, Wes Anderson’s films are instantly recognizable. There is a reason A.I.-generated images imitating his style are crowding our timelines. 

But is that all there is to Anderson? A style? Critic Leo Robson of the New Left Review calls his films “a storm in a snow globe”, full of characters with repressed longing and quirk-clothed melancholy. It is as though the controlled frames lend their uncontrolled lives a dignity, here is style parading as, indistinguishable from substance.

As we gear up to watch his latest and eleventh film Asteroid City in theatres, here is a list of Anderson’s films that are available on streaming. 

The Royal Tenebaums (2001)

Streaming Platform: Disney+ Hotstar, Apple TV+, Google Play

Based on a nonexistent novel — clearly influenced by J. D. Salinger — the film follows the lives of the Tenebaum siblings, Chas (Ben Stiller), Richie (Luke Wilson) and Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow), who experience great success in youth, and greater disappointment in adulthood. L.A. Weekly’s Manohla Dargis pointed out that despite its surface of humour that classifies it as a comedy, the film also contains “a deep vein of melancholia to its drollery” — a strain that passes through Anderson’s filmography. 

The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (2004)

Streaming Platform: Apple TV+

The film stars Bill Murray as Steve Zissou — a parody of and homage to French diving pioneer Jacques Cousteau — an eccentric oceanographer who sets out to exact revenge on the “jaguar shark” that ate his partner Esteban. While a box office flop at the time, with critics, like Anthony Lane of the New Yorker wondering if his characters were now “frozen into a mannerism”, it gained a cult status following over the decade, undergoing a critical re-evaluation.

The Darjeeling Limited (2007)

Streaming Platform: Apple TV+, YouTube, Google Play

The bereavement comedy film stars Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Schwartzman as three estranged brothers who meet in India a year after their father’s funeral for a ‘spiritual journey’ aboard a luxury train. Shot on location in India, while it was criticized for its exoticizing gaze, the film was praised for beauty. Noting thematic similarities across his filmography Nathan Lee of The Village Voice considered this film “A companion piece to Tenenbaums” with “more than a step in new directions”.

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Streaming Platform:  MUBI, YouTube, Google Play

A stop motion animated comedy film, it is based on the 1970 children's novel of the same name by Roald Dahl. The plot follows the thefts of Mr. Fox (Clooney) which results in his family and community being hunted down by three farmers — Boggis (Robin Hurlstone), Bunce (Hugo Guinness), and Bean (Michael Gambon).  A. O. Scott, the New York Times film critic, calling the film Wes Anderson’s “most fully realized and satisfying film” so far, noted that “once you adjust to its stop-and-start rhythms and its scruffy looks, you can appreciate its wit, its beauty and the sly gravity of its emotional undercurrents.”

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

Streaming Platform: Apple TV+ 

A coming-of-age comedy-drama, the ensemble follows the story of an orphan boy (Jared Gilman) who escapes a scouting camp to meet with his pen pal, a girl he loves (Kara Hayward). The two kids, lovers, abscond to an isolated beach, where the island’s police captain (Bruce Willis) organizes a search party of scouts and family members to locate the runaways. Richard Brody of the New Yorker hailed the film as “a leap ahead, artistically and personally” for Wes Anderson.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Streaming Platform: Disney+ Hotstar, Apple TV+, YouTube, Google Play

A seventeen-actor ensemble cast, this film follows the travels and travails of  Monsieur Gustave, the concierge of a mountainside resort in the fictional Eastern European country of Zubrowka. When he is framed for the murder of a wealthy dowager (Tilda Swinton), he and his protege Zero (Tony Revolori) embark on a roller-coaster ride that involves a quest for a priceless Renaissance painting as a fascist regime is threatening to rise up. A. O. Scott called the film a “marvelous mockery of history, turning its horrors into a series of graceful jokes and mischievous gestures.” It is considered among Anderson’s finest works.

Isle Of Dogs (2018)

Streaming Platform: Disney+ Hotstar, Apple TV+, YouTube, Google Play

Set in the fictional Japanese city, Megasaki, where Mayor Kenji Kobayashi (Kunichi Nomura) has banished all dogs to Trash Island due to a canine influenza pandemic, the film follows the journey of Kobayashi’s nephew Atari (Koyu Rankin) who wants to find his missing dog Spots (Liev Schreiber). This he does with the help of a group of dogs led by the stray Chief (Bryan Cranston). The ensemble cast includes Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, Jeff Goldblum and Scarlett Johansson, among others. Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times, while reviewing the film, noted a specific strain of comedy in Anderson’s film — “smart and different and sometimes deliberately odd and really funny, rarely in a laugh-out-loud way, more in a smile-and-nod-I-get-the-joke kind of way.”

The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun (2021)

Streaming Platform: Disney+ Hotstar, Apple TV+

An anthology comedy drama that follows three different storylines as the French foreign bureau of the fictional Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun newspaper publishes its final issue. This ensemble stars — hold your breath — Owen Wilson, Benicio del Toro, Tony Revolori, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Bob Balaban, Henry Winkler, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, and Timothée Chalamet, among others. Anderson calls this film “a love letter to journalists”. Despite its disjointed structure, David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter notes, “every moment is graced by Anderson’s love for the written word and the oddball characters who dedicate their professional lives to it.”

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