Movies like Wes Anderson’s to watch if you like the director’s style

There’s no denying the popularity of films written and directed by Wes Anderson. He is well known for his distinctive style, often described as quirky and eccentric. His films stand out for their pastel colors, very specifically detailed characters and exploratory themes. His artistry earned him five Oscar nominations and a BAFTA award for Best Original Screenplay for his film. The Grand Budapest Hotel. Fans love its quirky characters, unique directing style, and bizarre storylines.

Although Wes Anderson has established an accomplished portfolio, it is finished; fans will have to check out other movies as outlets to satisfy their quirky movie cravings. Because Anderson’s style is so special in films with such unique direction and such unusual storylines, it can be difficult to find comparable and worthy substitutes. Here are six movies that somewhat resemble Wes Anderson’s style and themes and might just satisfy that craving.


garden condition

Andrew, Sam and Mark carrying trash bags and standing in the rain at Garden State.
Fox projector pictures

garden condition is a poignant and cerebral film written and directed by Zach Braff, who also stars as Andrew Largeman. Andrew, also known as “Large”, is a small-time television actor who returned to his hometown of New Jersey for his mother’s funeral. He returns to where he was raised by his manipulative psychiatrist father and disabled mother. Growing up, his father led him to believe that he was responsible for his mother’s condition.

After returning as an adult and letting go of his drug addiction, Andrew experiences pain and grief for what feels like the first time, but it’s an oddly welcome form of clarity. He discovers love in a bipolar woman named Sam (Natalie Portman), a refreshingly unromantic version of the maniacal pixie dream girl. The film’s goofy characters and its approach to difficult but humorous subject matter are reminiscent of themes from Wes Anderson’s films. The film also has one of the best indie rom-com soundtracks, rivaling Anderson’s.

Little Miss Sun

Little Miss Sunshine's family gathered around the table.
Fox projector pictures

Two-time Oscar winner Little Miss Sun is a great offbeat movie for anyone who loves Anderson’s work. The film features a prominent pastel yellow color scheme, clever banter, and most importantly, a goofy cast of characters. There is the vulgar, drug-addicted grandfather; the uncle (Steve Carell) who has just been released from the psychiatric ward after a failed suicide attempt; the loser father who compensates for his incompetence with his rapidly successful “business model”; and the neurotic mother (Toni Collette) who projects her insecurity onto her daughter.

Best of all are the kids: there’s the angsty teenage brother who doesn’t speak, reads Nietzsche like the Bible, and whose sole ambition is to be an air force pilot. Then, of course, there’s Little Miss Sunshine herself; Olive (Abigail Breslin) is an adorable little chubby little girl, wearing glasses, who wants nothing more than her mother to let her eat ice cream. The plot itself is “Andersonian”, following the whole family’s painful but hilarious mishap at the Little Miss Sunshine pageant. To like The Royal Tenenbaums, it’s a film about family love that also addresses toxic family dynamics. It’s a dark, comedic film about family dysfunction and connection.


Juno seated in an armchair on a lawn, holding a Juno pipe.
Images of the mandate

Juno is an Oscar-winning quirky masterpiece; the titular protagonist, played by Elliot Page, is unlike his peers, and the snappy dialogue is sure to please Anderson fans. The soundtrack is also incredible, featuring alternative artist Kimya Dawson as well as songs from The Kinks, Courtney Love, The Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, and more, with enough music to rival even the best soundtrack. -sound of Wes Anderson.

Related: The 10 Wes Anderson Movies, Ranked

Juno follows the unusual journey of a self-proclaimed dork teenager who decides to keep her baby after accidentally becoming pregnant by her clumsy boyfriend and teammate, Paulie (Michael Cera). Juno navigates teenage life, still trying to figure out who she is while dealing with the enormous responsibility (and burden) of her impulsive decisions. Juno is a charismatic and authentic girl with a rock and roll style and attention issues. any Wes Anderson fan will fall in love with her.

Napoleon Dynamite

Napoleon and Pedro standing at the lockers, Napoleon Dynamite.
Fox projector pictures

This 2004 cult classic won the hearts of many for its quirky qualities and eccentric characters. Based on imagery and the clumsiness factor alone, one could easily confuse Napoleon Dynamite like one of the Wes Anderson movies. The protagonist’s comedic name, “Napoleon Dynamite,” even echoes the unusual names of some of Anderson’s characters: Etheline Tenenbaum, Steve Zissou, and Rosemary Cross, to name a few.

The plot is almost an inversion of that of Rushmore; Napoleon (Jon Heder) is a geeky, apathetic high school student with mediocre artistic skills. He’s the weirdo resident of small-town Idaho who’s perfectly content to exist, as long as people don’t bother him. When he meets his new best friend, Pedro, he goes out of his way to make sure Pedro derails mean girl Summer Wheatley’s campaign for class president. The film’s visual aesthetic and unusual characters give it the charm that people love about Wes Anderson films.

lady bird

Lady Bird and her friend Julie in Lady Bird.

lady bird is directed by Greta Gerwig, who has more than once been called a contemporary of Wes Anderson, and was nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. The film, starring Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf, is a one-woman coming-of-age story of an adventurous, strong-willed girl frustrated by the limitations of her boring Catholic high school life and relationships. strained with his stern mother.

Related: Barbie: How The New Movie Could Be A Feminist Masterpiece

When Lady Bird pushes the narrow boundaries of her world, growth (and hilarity) ensues. This film is a depiction of growing pains, bearing some similarity to Moonrise Kingdom in that teenage relationships are, well, uncomfortable, and the ironic distance many characters engage in (and downright precocity) is very reminiscent of Anderson, in particular Rushmore.

Everything is illuminated

Elijah Wood walks a path of sunflowers in All Is Lit
Independent Warner Images

The film Everything is illuminated is based on the novel of the same name written by Jewish American author Jonathan Safran Foer, who is also its own fictional protagonist. The film is about writer and collector of family heirlooms Jonathan (Elijah Wood) and his journey to a small village in Ukraine to find the woman who saved his grandfather after the town was ransacked by the Nazis. Feeling guilty after taking his grandfather’s grasshopper pendant from his deathbed, Jonathan is determined to deliver the oddity to this mysterious woman.

In his hunt for clues, Jonathan stumbles upon some goofy characters, including a blind old taxi driver and a rude young man obsessed with tracksuits. Everything is illuminated is a beautiful, eccentric film of self-discovery and reconciliation with one’s past. The art direction, character design, and unconventional storyline will appeal to die-hard Wes Anderson fans.

Sometimes moviegoers crave a specific style, but they always want to try something new. For an aesthetic as niche as Wes Anderson’s, it can be difficult to find a suitable substitute. All of these films share elements that feature prominently in Anderson’s films.


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