The French Dispatch review: Wes Anderson’s “love letter to journalists” is a perfect blend of quirk and charm


Described as a “love letter to journalists,” The French Dispatch perfectly captured the complexity of the art form thinly masked and promulgated as a career. Directed by Wes Anderson, I enjoyed watching his craft unravel before me. Anderson, known for quirky plots and enchanting color palettes, simply showcased his style and went wild with The French Dispatch. 

This film was unlike any I have seen before. It opened as an obituary for a newspaper’s editor in chief, but told three different stories, all being articles from said newspaper. The French Dispatch kept its audience’s attention from its structure: one central story told through three smaller, more digestible segments. Though not a begrudgingly long movie, with a running time of one hour and 43 minutes, its fast pace kept viewers entranced.

The French Dispatch was not just pleasing to the eye. Its score by Alexandre Desplat was nothing short of whimsical. Though it featured no lyrics, stories could be told through every song. The combination of alluring scenes and playful music made every song memorable. Desplat and Anderson’s styles went hand in hand and I cannot name a better composer for this movie than Desplat. However, the scenes do not make the songs. Its score can stand alone and still remain notable, but the combination of aesthetics and sound add more depth to every scene and note.

A great film can be accredited to a combination of things: its score, plot, pace and aesthetics can all contribute to a great movie. However, one aspect never ignored is its cast. Though I personally do not believe an ensemble can make or break a film, The French Dispatch certainly had an astounding one. Alongside familiar faces in Anderson’s films such as Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Saoirse Ronan and Jason Schwartzman, there were plenty of faces new to Anderson’s films such as Timothée Chalamet, Benicio Del Toro and the young Winston Ait Hellal.

After watching this film once, my initial rating was four and a half stars. After a second watch, I grew a greater appreciation for the movie, enjoying everything I noted before, but also noticing things that went unseen the first time. One particular aspect I grew to appreciate was the structure. As someone who indulges in and writes stories, I find structure to be almost as important as its contents, and felt the way The French Dispatch took audiences to its office, brought its publications to life and ended back at its office was a great choice.