It’s wrong to call Hotel Chevalier Anderson’s best film. The end of the film is some of the best work he’s ever done and a lot of the writing is some of the best writing he’s ever done (alone). The dialogue in Chevalier cuts in a way similar to Hemingway (maybe the Paris setting implies it too). It’s fantastic dialogue.
And Chevalier even surmounts one enormous problem–Jason Schwartzman is nowhere near as good in the film as Natalie Portman. Some of it has to do with Anderson’s script–Portman’s character is, in her seven minutes of screen time, probably Anderson’s most developed female character. The idiosyncrasies Anderson fills his features with are present here… but mostly only for Portman. Schwartzman’s character is nowhere near as interesting.
Anderson even manages to make the story universal (even though a plot detail is Schwartzman’s wealth). It’s a stunning, beautiful piece of filmmaking.
Written and directed by Wes Anderson; director of photography, Robert D. Yeoman; edited by Vincent Marchand; released by Fox Searchlight.
Starring Jason Schwartzman (Jack Whitman) and Natalie Portman (Jack’s girlfriend).