Life Can Be a Wes Anderson Film If You Look Close Enough

Finally, a subreddit dedicated to finding Wes Anderson’s aesthetic in the wild.
July 8, 2017, 2:00pm

A few months ago, software developer and photographer Simon Sarris became captivated by a picture of Austrian royalty Princess Yvonne and Prince Alexander taken in 1955. To Sarris, the image looked like something out of The Royal Tenenbaums. This ultimately led to him create /r/AccidentalWesAnderson in late April—a dedicated subreddit for all things quaint and fantastical enough to belong in a Wes Anderson film.


Scrolling through the page gave me a combination of wanderlust and déjà vu. I couldn't help but feel that I'd literally seen these places in Moonrise Kingdom or The Grand Budapest Hotel. (Full disclosure: Those are the only Wes Anderson films I've seen.)

However, the page isn't without user-lead moderation. On July 3, user mjgtwo established five guidelines for submitting posts. The post also included five examples of poor posts and four examples of good posts.

"We increased our size by 50% in about three quarters of a month (from June 12th to now we went from 20k to 30k) and I worry we might go the way of /r/AccidentalRenaissance with the quality of their posts," mjgtwo said in the post. "They would post cool photos, but not cool photos that look like accidental pieces of renaissance art."

User valeriob made a similar post titled, "Not every Hotel or Train is 'accidental Wes Anderson,'" and provided links to articles that highlight the symmetry, color palettes, and thematic fashion that characterizes Wes Anderson films.

Sarris, the actual moderator of /r/AccidentalWesAnderson, told me via email that he is fascinated by the way Anderson can explain eccentric personalities in just one shot.

"Most of [the posts] have focused on architecture, but I love the way Wes Anderson presents people," he said. "I'm crazy about how much information he packs into little scenes."

"I really didn't expect it to take off, but I think there's a lot of pent up demand for finding magical worlds in real life," Sarris said. "While [Anderson] uses a really limited color palette, it's always so wild or unusual that you accept immediately anything that comes after. That's why it's so special to accidentally come across it in the real world. It's like accidentally stepping into his alternate world."

After looking through /r/AccidentalWesAnderson for a few minutes, I found myself searching for the Anderson aesthetic around the VICE offices here in Brooklyn. I decided to try taking a picture to submit to the page.

The results weren't great (it was rainy at time of writing). I'm not even going to try submitting it. But if the point of /r/AccidentalWesAnderson is to search for the beauty in everyday life, then it's extremely successful.

Get six of our favorite Motherboard stories every day by signing up for our newsletter.