(a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

In ASTEROID CITY, Anderson creates a feel of the 1950s that is more convincing than accurate. For many, this was a fun period in our history and is still remembered affectionately; for others, was a time of forced conformity, suspicion, and repression. Anderson captures both these aspects.

The story takes place in Utah, 1955, at a site of what appears to be some government research lab. The eponymous town (with a population of 87 it can scarcely by called a city, but the name may have been suggested by Atomic City, Idaho) tries to make itself a "destination" by playing up its "asteroid crater" actually a meteor crater), and having the local military join them in presenting annual awards for student science projects.

But this is all surrounded by a framing story of a theater group writing and staging this as a play. And it is populated by the usual motley Anderson cast of characters. (Anderson also manages to collect an all-star ensemble cast that often overshadows the point of the film. Although there may not be a point to the film.) The dialogue is in Anderson's formalized style, and his signature symmetry shows up in the use of split screen as well as traditionally.

This isn't up to his best films (THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, MOONRISE KINGDOM, and THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX), but Anderson fans won't want to miss it.

Released theatrically 13 June 2023. Rating: +1 (-4 to +4), or 6/10.

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					Mark R. Leeper
					Copyright 2023 Mark R. Leeper