What’s The Wes Anderson Trend & Do S’pore TikTok Users Actually Understand It?

This piece is part of MS Explains, a segment where we provide clarity to common or key topics, making them easier to digest.

We Explore The Wes Anderson Trend That’s Taken TikTok By Storm

Compared to global franchises like the Marvel Movies, Wes Anderson films are not the typical type of shows you’d watch at Golden Village, Shaw or Cathay cinemas.

So when Singaporeans started doing the Wes Anderson trend on TikTok, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t surprised — this many Singaporeans know about Wes Anderson?

Source: Slate

If you’re wondering how popular the trend is, even Health Minister Ong Ye Kung has done it.

@ongyekung Mornings at Ministry of Health ☀️ #wesanderson ♬ original sound – Ye Kung Ong

For those who are clueless about this trend, here’s a breakdown of what the hoo-ha is all about.

The Wes Anderson TikTok trend

On TikTok, content creators from all around the world have hopped onto this Wes Anderson trend.

Their videos stitch short clips together to the sound of ‘Obituary’ by Alexandre Desplat — an instrumental track featured in Wes Anderson’s latest film ‘The French Dispatch’ (2021).

Content creators in Singapore have localised the trend, offering viewers aesthetic yet relatable slice-of-life productions.

@offdayplans Wes Anderson Tan, from Bedok #fyp #wesanderson #tiktoksg #HDB #filmtok #filmmaker ♬ Obituary – Alexandre Desplat

In this take by @offdayplans, the lively soundtrack was interspersed with the Koel bird calls.

Meanwhile, the actress nails the awkward — often deadpan– expressions that Wes Anderson’s characters, such as Zero, make in ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ (2014).

Source: SearchlightPictures on YouTube

The best of the videos are beautifully edited, but more importantly, subtly funny — in the Wes Anderson sense, of course.

Take this other exemplary video by TikTok user @on3bar.

@on3bar Sometimes it does happen but bobian 🤷🏻‍♂️😅 @Majid #sgtiktok #sgfilmmaker #wesanderson #sony #davinciresolve #scdf ♬ Obituary – Alexandre Desplat

Apart from the aesthetics, they’ve gone above and beyond in crafting a humorous story about a last-minute shoot set-up.

The actor’s stiff-backed brisk walk, coupled with his deadpan expressions is again, reminiscent of Zero’s.

Source: Searchlight Pictures on YouTube

However, not all videos of the trend have reached the above levels of mastery.

In fact, some have just hopped onto the trend by splicing together random clips, with no story or humour whatsoever.

Based on the videos I’ve seen of the trend, here’s what they all have in common:.

  • They’re colour-graded to fit a certain ‘aesthetic’
  • They all use the same quirky, upbeat soundtrack

But are these the only things that Wes Anderson films are known for?

Surely there’s more than meets the eye.

Early days of Wes Anderson

To get that answer, we have to look at Anderson’s background and his earliest work.

A renowned director, Wesley Wales Anderson (b. 1969) is a Golden Globe winner and Academy Award Nominee.

Before that though, the American filmmaker had humble beginnings in Houston, Texas.

After graduating from the University of Texas — where he attended playwriting classes and studied philosophy — Anderson relocated to California with Hollywood actor and college roommate, Owen Wilson.

Source: @mubi on Twitter

Together, the duo worked on ‘Bottle Rocket’ (1996) — a heist film where Anderson was the director while Wilson acted and wrote the screenplay.

However, The Guardian reported that Anderson’s debut film was a “commercial flop”.

That didn’t stop him from making movies though.

In 1999, he won Best Director for his comedy film ‘Rushmore’ (1998) at the Independent Spirit Awards.

Looking at these first two films, viewers can get a glimpse into Anderson’s early style.

There’s no hint of fanciful colour grading or the classic Anderson symmetry — and yet, something about these early films is still quintessentially Anderson-esque.

For a general observer like myself, the quick cuts and comedic scenes are also important aspects of Wes Anderson’s productions.

As the years go by, the comedic scenes are not forgotten but also enhanced by the gorgeous sets.

Aesthetically pleasing comedies take the cake

In 2015, Wes Anderson’s ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel ‘ (2014) won ‘Best Picture – Musical/Comedy’ at the Golden Globes.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the film did exceptionally well at the box office, having raked in US$59 million (S$78.5 million).

Not only was this a personal best for Anderson, but it was also the first time he won ‘Best Picture’.

In this critically-acclaimed film, we can see the clearest traces of a matured Wes Anderson aesthetic.

Now, not only are his films funny but the sets are also such a treat for the eyes.

Source: Literary Hub

Featuring vibrant colours and symmetrical scenes, it’s no surprise where the ‘Wes Anderson trend’ drew most of its surface inspiration from.

His most recent film, ‘The French Dispatch'(2021) also features the same stylistic elements.

But what’s one thing that these new films have in common with Anderson’s oldest works? They all still have the same offbeat, wry humour. 

In ‘The French Dispatch’, for example, a messenger boy was abruptly fired and told not to cry in the sunny yellow office.

Source: SearchlightPictures on YouTube

The camera then follows his upward glance to a sign that says “No Crying”.

Looking at the hundreds of users who’ve tried their hand at the trend, it’s clear who’s gone the extra mile in studying Wes Anderson’s style.

Aesthetic and humorous videos with a storyline such as those by @offdayplans and @on3bar stand out from the crowd.

Since it’s Hari Raya too, those celebrating the occasion have been documenting their families’ festivities in this style. For such videos, the one by @dokernaket seems to take the cake.


cuba menjadi wes enderson copy ori #wesendersontrend #cinematography #videography #fyp

♬ Obituary – Alexandre Desplat

The people’s deadpan expressions, awkward movements, and the strategic camera cuts as well as zoom-ins make the video seem like a Wes Anderson film shot in rural Malaysia.

How to do the trend

After years of film-making, Wes Anderson has seen a breakthrough in the younger generation on TikTok.

The trend has gotten so big that there are creators who’ve posted guides on how to do the trend.

@vincecustodi0 Replying to @loverosie WES ANDERSON TREND Template #wesanderson #wesandersonfilm #templatecapcut #cccreator @CapCut #wesandersonedit @CAPCUT TEMPLATES ♬ original sound – Bien Vincent Sagun

However, give the films a watch and you’ll know that Wes Anderson’s films are more than just pretty flicks to look at.

Like all good movies, they’ll make you laugh, cry and keep you entertained for hours at a time.

While it’s hard to achieve the same effect through TikTok’s short format videos, some creators have come close to nailing the trend.

For those who have only heard of Wes Anderson for the first time, what are you waiting for?

To fully appreciate Wes Anderson’s style of storytelling, grab some popcorn and schedule your next movie night.

Featured image adapted from @offdayplans on TikTok and Screenmusings.

Drop us your email so you won't miss the latest news.

  • More From Author