Few filmmakers have led to as much discussion, dissection, and in-depth analyses over as short a filmography as Wes Anderson. With his blatantly recurring themes, aesthetic palate, and stylistic quirks, his works have become fodder for many people looking to explore the emotional and conceptual ties that bind these films together. Looking at his films from the vantage point of the father figures used in them, Luís Azevedo and his The A To Z Review series finds a common thread between all of the movies. By showing select scenes of the father figures interacting with their surrogate (or actual) sons, Azevedo highlights the awkward nature and inherent faults that lead to them failing their progeny and protégés.
What’s the reasoning behind this collection of bad dads, or at least a search for finding a suitable replacement? In his accompanying written essay, Azevedo conjectures the following:
Throughout Wes Anderson’s filmography there’s a constant search for a strong male figure, a role model, a father – literal or figuratively. Someone whose attention, even if they have died, his characters always seem to be looking for.
A little research revealed that the director’s parents divorced when he was age ten, making his teen angst period start early.
It would appear that almost 40 years later, Wes Anderson is still coping through his art.
Does it all lead back to Anderson’s own upbringing? It’s hard to say, but it is made patently obvious by the movies and this video essay that searching for a replacement for absentee fathers is certainly a recurring trope in Anderson’s films.