Back in theaters for this one. I love going into Wes movies with absurdly high expectations, because he always meets them. I’ll read the hater critics some other time – maybe they were looking for something more than an endless parade of favorite actors and impeccable production design, but I wasn’t. Much of the movie is in 4:3 black and white, and either my screening was over-matted or the titles appear at the extreme top and bottom of frame.

Bookending segments in the newspaper office, with editor Bill Murray alive in the first piece and dead in the second. Bicycle tour through the town of Ennui by Owen Wilson. Story 1 is relayed by Tilda Swinton, involving art dealer Adrien Brody patronizing imprisoned painter Benicio del Toro whose guard/model is Léa Seydoux (they get some actual French people in here sometime). I was least involved in the middle piece, about faux-May’68 student revolutionary Timothée Chalamet’s affair with reporter Frances McDormand. Then Jeffrey Wright is reporting on celebrated police chef Steve “Mike Yanagita” Park, who helps foil a plot by Edward Norton to kidnap chief Mathieu Amalric’s son.

Michael Sicinski (Patreon) also liked the Benicio story best:

By contrast, Anderson’s snotty riff on May ’68, “Revisions to a Manifesto,” succumbs to the director’s worst comedic instincts, essentially declaring that political desire is nothing more than sublimated horniness … The final segment, “The Private Dining Room of the Police Commissioner,” sort of splits the difference, although it is elevated considerably by a fine performance from Jeffrey Wright, channeling James Baldwin as a melancholy ex-pat uncomfortable with his journalistic distance. The story itself is mostly just a riff on The Grand Budapest Hotel‘s portrait of courtly civility as a bulwark against anarchy. But it’s Wright’s representation of honest inquiry, and humanistic curiosity, that makes it far less silly than it should be.

Watched again a month later, with Katy this time.

Watched it huge, up front at the Tara.

I abandoned the Harry Potter series after part five (a movie I accurately predicted I would soon forget) so Emma Watson is just vaguely familiar to me. Florence Pugh is a revelation, and I’ve still got Midsommar and The Little Drummer Girl to catch up with. “Poor, doomed Beth, who dies, as she always does” is Eliza Scanlen of Sharp Objects and the next Antonio Campos picture. My only note: book editor Tracy Letts and paterfamilias Bob Odenkirk could’ve switched roles.

Gerwig has assimilated the awkward realness of Noah Baumbach’s characters with the visual charm of Wes Anderson, and given Saoirse Ronan an even better showcase than Brooklyn. Saoirse Ronan dates nice guy Lucas Hedges (Manchester, Three Billboards) and hangs with best friend Julie, then gives them up for bad boy Kyle (Call Me By Your Name star Timothée Chalamet) and popular girl Jenna, realizing her mistake and rejoining her friend in time for the school prom before she leaves town for a college her parents can’t really afford. She feuds with her mom Laurie Metcalf (that bonkers episode of Horace and Pete), and they don’t quite make up in time, but quietly depressed dad Tracy Letts (schoolmaster of Indignation) sends his daughter a touching present of all the letters mom half-wrote her daughter and threw away. I have no problem believing that precocious Saoirse is a coming-of-age Gerwig stand-in. High school dramas aren’t usually my favorite things, but I can’t ignore something this smart and perfectly made, and Katys are raving that it’s an amazingly accurate portrayal of a mother/daughter relationship.