Four magical Wes Anderson short movies to watch • Art de Vivre

Four magical Wes Anderson short movies to watch

5 minutes to read
Oct 12, 2023

Four new short films from Wes Anderson, based on Roald Dahl’s stories, were recently released, taking audiences on the spectrum of horror and beauty. The movies — ‘The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar,’ ‘The Swan,’ ‘The Rat Catcher,’ and ‘The Poison’ — are unrelated plotwise, but it is best to see them as a whole and explore the odd, mysterious, and disturbing worlds they present. The combination of Anderson’s colours and the swift storytelling create unforgettable experiences for the audience while leaving them with mixed feelings.

 Wes Anderson films A collage of the four Wes Anderson films © IMDb

The overarching message from all 4 short films

The first short, ‘The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar,’ deals with self-exploration while following a once greedy man turning into a philanthropist. Throughout the story, he understands that having it all does not bring self-fulfilment and finds his destiny in helping others rather than keeping the wealth to himself. Although this short has a positive outcome and seems like a fairytale, the other stories are less so. 

All other movies observe the horrors and the dark reality people live in. ‘The Swan’ depicts the bullying experienced by a teenage boy, ‘The Poison’ serves as a depiction of inhumanity, and ‘The Poison’ explores the narcissist and racist side of the main hero.

All angles of the story of life

As mentioned, all stories take the audience on a spectrum and try to showcase different sides of life, which is not unexpected from the director's movies. Just like in real life, sometimes stories don't have a happy ending. In this case, the director takes us on a journey, giving us a reality check while also depicting the cruelties of human nature in some of the most radiant colours. 

Photo 1 - The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar; Photo 2 - The Rat Catcher © IMDb

The movies by Wes Anderson always have a recognizable style. The colours are radiant, each shot is symmetrical and calculated, and the characters are almost comically cartoonish. Because of these vibrant colour schemes, his movies leave the audience with positive, warm feelings, even if they deal with complicated topics. It is almost as if you’re allowed to leave the worries of everyday life behind while immersing yourself in a completely different world. 

The reality that we don’t all have happy endings 

Even if the heroes of the stories are going through hardships, the audience knows that the movie will usually have a fairytale ending. However, that is not the case with the recent shorts. In this case, Anderson still uses his signature yellow colour scheme, however, does not shy away from horrorful imagery. The setup of each movie looks like a theatre, giving the audience a unique experience. His characters are still cartoonish, the colours vibrant, but the stories deal with harsher topics. However, there are stylistic differences between the four movies. The story about Henry Sugar is full of popping colours, and even though the other three stories still have that ‘Wes Anderson Color Scheme,’ they still seem drained from it. The darker and more horrid the stories are, the darker the colour palettes get. 

Each of the shorts has a brilliant execution and fully immerses the audience. During the short screen times, all of the films manage to capture the attention and leave the viewer with a feeling of confusion and conflicting thoughts while making them impressed with the colourful world of Wes Anderson. 


Want to read a more details review of one of the short films? Check out our in depth cover of The wonderful world of Henry Sugar

Сredits for the Main photo: © IMDb


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