The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel Study Guide

The Grand Budapest Hotel is a 2014 film created by idiosyncratic director Wes Anderson. The film is loosely inspired by the literature of early 20th century Austrian writer Stefan Zweig. Director and co-writer Anderson had never even heard of Zweig until about seven years prior to the film’s release, when a chance purchase of Zweig’s novel Beware of Pity inspired him to adapt his own version. The result was his most commercially successful film to date. In addition to being a minor box office hit, The Grand Budapest Hotel tied with Birdman for the most Oscar nominations in 2015 and ended up winning 4 awards, for Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Production Design, and Best Original Score.

As for Zweig’s contribution to the film, Anderson admits it was more of a “sense” of Zweig's writing than any direct link to the writer’s works. Among those “senses” is the correlation between the narrative’s indictment of Nazi brutality and Zweig’s own courageous stand against the rise of fascism. The vague atmosphere of sadness which somehow manages to pervade throughout what is, on the surface, a very joyous comedic narrative can perhaps be attributed to the influence of Zweig as well: the author committed suicide in exile in Brazil in 1941, at the height of the fear that Hitler might just succeed in taking over the world.

Audiences and critics alike loved The Grand Budapest Hotel. A.O. Scott of The New York Times wrote of the film, "This movie makes a marvelous mockery of history, turning its horrors into a series of graceful jokes and mischievous gestures. You can call this escapism if you like. You can also think of it as revenge."