Rushmore ★★★★

Third time through, and I still find Max Fisher extremely annoying company. Even though I too loved high school and wanted it to go on forever, I hope and pray that I wasn't as insufferably self-absorbed and mean as this kid. He makes 93 minutes feel like 140. But the film is so alive with imagination that I can't give up on it either. There's a beauty to the way Anderson, movie after movie, finds the missing piece in every character, portrays them compassionately as they seek to replace that piece with the wrong things, and then offers them grace after the damage is done. Here, we can already see certain formal and thematic preoccupations becoming evident that he'll use again and again in subsequent films: the slo-mo moment of a hero's cocksure swagger; the pregnant pause before one human being charges another for a fight that's been a long time coming; the deep angst-filled sighs of Bill Murray; the affection for amateur theatre productions; the devastation of divorce; and above all, the meticulously geometric compositions. While I've been aggravated by this film since I first watched it, I'm making my peace with it here as I come to see it as a necessary on-ramp to the far greater Anderson films that lay ahead.

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