The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun parents guide

The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun Parent Guide

Epitomizing Wes Anderson's quirky and distinctive style, this film will appeal to his fans - but less so to those who want narratively tight stories.

Overall C+

In Theaters: An American newspaper in a fictional French city publishes weird and wonderful stories by its eclectic and unconventional writers.

Release date October 29, 2021

Violence B
Sexual Content D
Profanity D
Substance Use C-

Why is The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun rated R? The MPAA rated The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun R for graphic nudity, some sexual references and language

Run Time: 108 minutes

Parent Movie Review

The French Dispatch, once a supplement to the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun, but now a magazine in its own right, has shut down forever following the death of its editor, Arthur Howitzer Jr. (Bill Murray). The last edition of the paper, which will carry his obituary and the notice for the closing of the magazine’s offices, will also print the last stories written by his eclectic stable of journalists. Among them are J.K.L. Berenson (Tilda Swinton), an arts columnist with a piece on the mad painter Moses Rosenthaler (Benicio Del Toro) and his muse and prison guard Simone (Lea Seydoux); Lucinda Krementz (Frances McDormand), who has been working on an essay documenting the grievances and personalities of student activist Zeffirelli (Timothee Chalamet); and food journalist Roebuck Wright, who has made a valiant effort to discuss the brilliance of police cook Lt. Nescaffier (Stephen Park), but who finds himself involved in a dangerous kidnapping.

This movie’s account of The French Dispatch is less narratively driven than most films. The story is, essentially, three stories and a few frame narratives which combine to form the latest edition of the French Dispatch magazine. Each story is accompanied by a dramatic and deeply enjoyable narration from the journalist, highlighting both their personality and that of the characters in their stories. But this means the film can feel unfocused and, I will admit, occasionally a little slow. If you rely on clear plotlines or compelling action, you’re going to start tearing your hair out after half an hour or so. That said, if you have the patience, you’ll be dazzled by brilliant performances from an all-star cast, which in addition to those mentioned above, includes appearances by Edward Norton, Liev Schreiber, Willem Dafoe, Saoirse Ronan, Adrien Brody, and Elizabeth Moss.

Anderson’s mastery of the form is on full display in this film. His occasionally childlike eccentricity and whimsy are wonderfully balanced by smart humor and clever camerawork, all nicely framed. The aptly named town of Ennui, France, springs to life with a delightful mélange of bizarre denizens, animated sequences, and of course, the tales told in the film. The signature Wes Anderson style, in short.

This movie does have its own issues, primarily related to negative content. For example, the “Art” section includes a fair amount of full-frontal female nudity, and although these scenes involve artists’ models, this is enough on its own to make the film a dubious choice for younger viewers. There are some scenes of implied sexual activity, but they manage to avoid the same degree of nudity. Other stories involve violence, but this largely takes place off-screen or is deliberately stylized for comic effect.

Fans of Wes Anderson (myself included) will no doubt enjoy the familiarities of his style and the unexpected places in which he finds comedy. If the laughs echoing from the back of the theater are to be taken as any indication, I was not alone in that opinion. But I’ll be the first to admit that, if you’re not familiar with Anderson’s films, or at least other off-beat indie comedies, this might not be the best place to start.

Directed by Wes Anderson. Starring Timothee Chalamet, Bill Murray, Lea Seydoux, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Tilda Swinton. Running time: 108 minutes. Theatrical release October 29, 2021. Updated

Watch the trailer for The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun

The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun
Rating & Content Info

Why is The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun rated R? The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun is rated R by the MPAA for graphic nudity, some sexual references and language

Violence: A dead body is seen floating in a river, and another is seen in a casket. Two people are electrocuted, one fatally. Several people are reportedly injured and killed in an off-screen brawl. There are references to and staged depictions of suicide. Some people are beaten and tortured by police for information. Several people are deliberately poisoned. One person is killed in a car crash.
Sexual Content: A woman is seen fully nude on several occasions while modelling for a painter. There is a brief scene of implied sexual content off-screen. A woman is briefly seen topless. A young man is seen partially but not explicitly nude while getting out of a bath.
Profanity: There are four sexual expletives, one scatological curse, and infrequent uses of mild curses and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults are seen drinking and smoking. One background character is briefly seen doing intravenous drugs.

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Other Wes Anderson films include Moonrise Kingdom, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limited, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Isle of Dogs.