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I’ll admit I am a tiny bit cool toward the new Wes Anderson movie, The French Dispatch. When I say “cool toward,” I really just mean “less wild than I usually am about his movies.” It’s a portmanteau movie, and those are—almost by definition—a mixed bag, and I liked some sections better than others. But you should see it, and if you’re comfortable in the movie theater, you should absolutely see it that way because it’s chock full of the usual Anderson geegaws and baubles and Rube Goldberg-y things and foofaraw, and the bigger you see it, the more of all that you see.

But what I am wild about is Alexandre Desplat’s score, and you don’t need to brave the unmasked masses or chitchatty movie audiences (yes, people still talk at top volume even in an arthouse these days; le sigh) to experience it. 

I have been a big fan of Desplat ever since The Painted Veil (an underrated movie with a truly great, old-fashioned score). His score for The French Dispatch is full of vague citations musicales (there are a lot of passages that sort of remind you of other things, anyway—in the best possible manner) that plop you right down in the middle of a small French town that never existed. The movie uses a handful of existing recordings (I would call them “vintage,” but I’m not brave enough to call a Grace Jones song “vintage” to her face) to round out the experience—Aznavour, Georges Delarue, Chantal Goya … the list goes on and it’s all so carefully chosen that there’s not a bit of it I’d change.

It’s all a giant macaron, stuffed with a medium-sized macaron and then topped with another tiny macaron.

About The Author

DG Strong took up knitting in 2014. He lives in Nashville with his sister, her rat terrier and a hound dog named Opal. He has a blog of drawings and faintly ridiculous rambling called The Psychopedia—there are worse ways to spend your afternoon.


  • I can’t wait to see it! Huge Wes Anderson and New Yorker fan, and, thanks to you, now I can also look forward to the score!

  • Terrific movie!! Our first one back in a theater since BC. Worth leaving our comfort zone. Good to hear from DG.

  • Just watched the preview, this looks like such fun! And Bill Murray makes an appearance? Count me in.

  • I also enjoyed the music

  • Agree! Excited to see it!
    Thanks for your review!!

  • Thanks for such a fun recommendation. Huge Wes Anderson fan and I will pay special attention to the score! Love your posts

  • Will do!

  • I saw it this week and it was well worth it. But I will probably have to see it again. And again.

  • So glad you are back DG… I’ve missed you…. Hope you had a nice time wherever you were (and I really hope it wasn’t in a hospital with Covid)! I must admit, I did worry a wee bit.

    • I was in the warehouse putting yarn in boxes!

  • Dear DR, Loved the French Dispatch,! and agree it is uneven. If you ever visit up north you should come to the Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline MA.

  • I’m such a fan of WA, I will watch anything by him, even if uneven. I am so looking forward to this. That is is taking place in France is icing on the cake for me. I have always loved his soundtracks – I had a CD of the soundtrack from The Royal Tenenbaums playing in my car for months after that movie came out. I can’t wait to experience this one.

  • So very hard to dislike anything Wes Anderson offers us because there is so much variety and even more senses overload. This offering is The Grand Budapest on speed. Wraps you into the whirlwind of characters, settings, music, language, animation and plot. What’s not too like other than I need to see it again! Just like every other of his films that rock me into his creative world.

  • Love it! Can’t wait to see it. Thank you DG!

  • Love The Painted Veil too. Beautifully shot, scored and acted.

  • Thanks! I love Wes (yes, we’re on a first name basis. (NOT)) & I loved The Painted Veil.

    My latest find from free month of Hulu is A Million Little Pieces – airs on a Big 3 network, maybe ABC? I think season 2 is on regular tv but I need to catch up on Season 1.

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all creating or reading MDK in US, and Wishing all you luckier ones a lovely weekend!

  • I laughed inordinately at “le sigh.” Even more than I laughed at “Quel nightmare” in “You’ve Got Mail.” I always enjoy your columns. Thank you for writing them.

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