CLASSROOM: 5 Key Ingredients to Wes Anderson’s Comedy
Wes Anderson films are loved by many. They’re engaging, quotable and artful. They’re also funny. Laugh out loud funny? Sometimes. Are they comedies? Not exactly. But, the humor is the glue that holds these stories together.
The comedy makes the tragedy go down smoother. Anderson knows how to “sugarcoat the pill.” (Which is something every screenwriter should aim to master.)
His tales center on lonely people, often in dire, desperate circumstances or reckoning with grief. A trademark sense of levity, however, makes that misery not only palatable but delightful.
Let’s look at the major takeaways of Anderson-style humor and how it works.
Veneer vs. Reality
Wes Anderson is known as a craftsman of delicate worlds. His beautiful, meticulous visual scenery is like a shell about to crack. Underneath, there is an abyss of darkness. The contrast is apparent in The Royal Tenenbaums. Every member of the dysfunctional family is on the brink of emotional collapse, but the world they inhabit is highly organized and laughably neat.
Disruption of Character
Monsieur Gustave H. (played by Ralph Fiennes), concierge of The Grand Budapest Hotel, is a very civil man, whose even temper never breaks. That’s why it’s so hilarious when he insults someone or curses.
Photo credit: No Film School