Why White People Get So Hard for Wes Anderson Movies

There’s something about Wes Anderson that white people love. It’s not merely that all of the auteur’s main characters are white, but it’s his entire oeuvre of general neuroses. Unlike Woody Allen, however (and not just in the child molester sense), Anderson is subtler in his portrayal of his characters’ unusual psychoses–a type of psychosis that is generally specific to white people.

The satyr of white movie audiences.
The satyr of white movie audiences.

It isn’t just that Anderson’s lead characters tend toward being white males (e.g. Anthony Adams, Dignan, Max Fischer, Royal Tenenbaum, Steve Zissou, the Whitman brothers, etc.), but that his stories lean toward distinctively white problems. And chief among those problems are a constant and pervasive feeling of self-doubt and inadequacy, as well as repressed family issues that can only boil to the surface at times of extreme crisis.

Not to say that other ethnicities don’t suffer from certain similar quandaries, but their manner of dealing with them tends to be far more expressive (and, arguably, healthier). White people, on the other hand, are notorious for “subtlety” and suppression of emotion (unless they’re Italian). And it is for this distinct difference between white people and non-white people that Anderson holds so much appeal.

Another thing white people love about Anderson’s canon is that it makes them feel “smart.” And white people only love two things more than feeling smart: artisanal everything and esoteric brands. Anderson taps into this need for his specific audience to have an “intellectual,” “thought-provoking” experience.

I’m not suggesting that Anderson is an overrated filmmaker; all of his success is extremely well-deserved. I just want to see him try out a new gimmick so that I don’t have to sit in the front row of a white people-packed movie theater in Williamsburg to watch The Grand Budapest Hotel.


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