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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

As a Wes Anderson fanatic, I’ve watched all of his films (most of them a few times) and own eight of the 10 on DVD. I’m here to give you the breakdown on where to begin, what to skip and why some of these movies are absolute gems. Most importantly, I’m ranking his films from best to worst. 

The Royal Tenenbaums

The Royal Tenenbaums follows a family of child geniuses 20 years past their prime. The family is reunited after decades of disaster and are forced to come together under multiple unsatisfactory and outrageous circumstances. There are many reasons I rank this film #1, the most important being the characters. Beautifully acted and written, the wide cast of characters leads itself to relatability for anyone. The film is a sight for sore eyes with the perfect flow from scene-to-scene, allowing the viewers to gain a deep understanding of the characters, their relationships and their pasts. Full of unexpected turns and heartfelt moments, The Royal Tenenbaums is my go-to film recommendation. 

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Anderson’s first animated film, based on Roald Dahl’s book Fantastic Mr. Fox, is a charming tale both visually and narratively. Anderson does justice to the story of Mr. Fox and his family through his quirky stop motion animation. The settings are awe inspiring and the characters, relatable. It is a simple story yet emotionally investing and relatable for viewers of all ages. Accompanied by a joyous soundtrack, Fantastic Mr. Fox is simply fun. Witty, charismatic and heartfelt, this film encompasses all the best characteristics of a quintessential Anderson film. 

Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel is possibly the most stylistic and aesthetically pleasing of these films. It features stunning wide shots and pastel colours, complemented by symmetry and contrast. The Grand Budapest Hotel tells the story of the legendary resort in the 1930s, run by concierge Gustave H. Gustave becomes the chief suspect in his lover’s murder and goes on a journey with his protege Zero to clear his name. Striking the perfect balance of action, mystery, romance and growth, The Grand Budapest Hotel is a must-watch.

Moonrise kingdom

Possibly the sweetest story of the 10 is Moonrise Kingdom, a love story of two young teens who run away together into the wild. Nostalgia is the first word that comes to mind when I think of this movie. Although most of us weren’t alive in 1965, the relationship between Sam and Suzy possesses an innocence and compassion that only first love can. Moonrise Kingdom strikes the perfect balance between passionate emotion, comical moments of joy, and tense action and pitiful melancholy. If you’re looking for a lighthearted yet introspective story of young love, this is the film for you.  

The French Dispatch

Anderson’s newest film, released in Oct. 2021, details a collection of stories all brought to life through the means of the final issue of The French Dispatch magazine. The issue details a travel guide, three feature articles and an obituary following the editor’s death. Through the eyes of the journalists, we are taken back in time and the stories are retold in a fanciful and delightful manner. The cast carries this production yet the misfit characters bring their stories to life. Each story is charming yet comedic, while sticking to Anderson’s deadpan style. The French Dispatch is probably the most visually and narratively inventive of these films. Unfortunately, it’s one of the least emotionally-involving. This is due to the anthology format which doesn’t allow for deep emotional development within characters, leading to a lack of heart, which previous films are known for. 

Bottle Rocket

Being the first major film of Anderson’s career, Bottle Rocket doesn’t quite fit in with the rest. As the distinct Wes Anderson style was still being established, Bottle Rocket serves as an outlier, but a raw, underrated one at that. This film follows two friends who plan a robbery and getaway, but their journey is far less simple than they planned. The performances from Luke and Owen Wilson really bring this film to life thanks to a beautifully-written story; the unique shots allude to Anderson’s style to come. The themes of loyalty and friendship overcome any flaws in this film and are perfectly coupled with a romantic side plot. The ending of this film is one of the best I’ve ever seen, and if you have an affinity for Anderson but haven’t seen Bottle Rocket, it’s a must.

isle of dogs

After all the dogs in Megasaki are exiled to Trash Island, 12-year-old mayoral ward, Atari sets off alone in search of his bodyguard-dog, Spots. After arriving on the island, Atari meets a pack of dogs who agree to help him on his journey. Atari and the dogs face trials and challenges but bond along the way. Ultimately, the fate of Megasaki and the dogs lie in Atari’s hands. Possibly the most political of Anderson’s films, Isle of Dogs acts as a commentary on corruption while focusing on a heartfelt story of reunion. Isle of Dogs stands out for its soundtrack and intricate animated set details.

Rushmore

The most forgettable of these films is Rushmore, following prep school student Max who has fallen in love with a new teacher. Competition arises with his older friend as they each attempt to win her heart. While filled with genuine moments, Rushmore is lacking the polish many of these films possess. While still an enjoyable watch, it’s nothing to rave about. 

The Life Aquatic

This story follows famous oceanographer Steve Zissou who is seeking revenge on the rare shark that killed one of his crew mates. He is accompanied on his journey by his long-lost son and a pregnant journalist. While travelling the ocean, they encounter pirates, rivals, trials and Zissou’s estranged wife. While there are stunning ocean views, this is a close second for the worst-written story. The plot is underdeveloped and unnecessarily spontaneous. Rather than building on his previous works, The Life Aquatic is repetitive and derived, hitting a major plateau with an underwhelming ending. 

The Darjeeling Limited

In last place comes The Darjeeling Limited which follows three estranged brothers on a train trip across India. They haven’t spoken since their father died a year ago. Each is struggling with their problems as they journey to visit their mother at a convent in the Himalayas. This film is long, strung out and contrived. While Anderson’s characters often come off as relatable people with understandable issues, the brothers in this film read as whiny, arrogant children. Even though I love Wes Anderson films, this one is a major pass. 

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Nalyn Tindall

Ryerson '25

Nalyn is a first year journalism student at Ryerson University, originally from Camrose, Alberta. She is loving living in Toronto and can often be found exploring the city with her friends. When not finding new places to eat or take photos, she's probably watching Netflix or listening to music. She has a love of house plants, her cat, and snacks, as well as a passion for politics and social change which have inspired her to pursue journalism.
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