The Whimsical Tale of Henry Sugar Review – Wes Anderson's Stellar Masterpiece RevealedTheWhimsicalTaleofHenrySugar,Review,WesAnderson,Stellar,Masterpiece
The Whimsical Tale of Henry Sugar Review – Wes Anderson's Stellar Masterpiece Revealed

The Whimsical Tale of Henry Sugar Review – Wes Anderson’s Stellar Masterpiece Revealed

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Film Review: The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar

Wes Anderson’s Star-Studded Roald Dahl Yarn


September 27, 2023

In Wes Anderson’s latest short film for Netflix, “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar,” he brings together an impressive cast including Ralph Fiennes, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ben Kingsley, Dev Patel, and Richard Ayoade. Clocking in at just 37 minutes, Anderson’s brevity in storytelling exposes a flimsiness in his signature style that would have had more room to breathe in a full-length feature film. Nonetheless, this whimsical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1977 collection of stories is still an intriguing and entertaining watch.

A Departure from the Usual

Unlike Dahl’s famous children’s tales, “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar” is aimed at older teens. It sits somewhere between Dahl’s young fiction and his darker, macabre adult works. Anderson captures this unique tone in his adaptation, with a twisty narrative that showcases both the author’s cynical side and his ability to create gentle endings. Ralph Fiennes plays the role of Dahl himself, serving as the narrator who sets the stage for the audience.

An Ensemble of Eccentric Characters

Benedict Cumberbatch delivers a funny and enigmatic performance as Henry Sugar, a wealthy and greedy bachelor who discovers a medical case history of an Indian stage performer named Imdad Khan, played by Ben Kingsley. Dev Patel portrays Dr. Chatterjee, Khan’s physician who reveals the secrets of his mind-focusing discipline. Richard Ayoade adds his own brand of drollery to the film as the yogi who teaches Sugar how to cheat at cards.

A Unique Visual Experience

Anderson’s visual style shines through in “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar.” The story unfolds with the use of theatrical flats, which are revealed to be scene-settings that are dismantled and taken away at the end of each episode. This clever technique adds to the film’s whimsical charm and creates a sense of theatricality that complements Dahl’s storytelling.

Is Two-Dimensionality the Weakness?

While Anderson’s distinctive style is always witty, some may argue that the two-dimensionality of the characters in this film feels somewhat lacking. The emotional depth of the characters, particularly Henry Sugar and Imdad Khan, is not fully explored. Anderson chooses to focus on their external actions rather than diving into their inner lives. Perhaps this is a deliberate choice, playing into the film’s comic effect. However, for some viewers, it may leave them wanting more.

A Comic Masterpiece or a Missed Opportunity?

“The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar” is an intriguing and exhilarating watch, showcasing Anderson’s unique vision and storytelling ability. While the film’s brevity leaves room for interpretation, it also raises questions about whether a longer runtime would have allowed for deeper character development. One cannot help but wonder if Anderson missed an opportunity to create a more profound and emotionally resonant film.

Final Thoughts

Despite its flaws, “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar” is a testament to Wes Anderson’s talent as a director. His ability to create visually stunning and whimsical worlds is on full display in this adaptation of Roald Dahl’s lesser-known works. Whether you’re a fan of Anderson, Dahl, or simply in search of a quirky and entertaining film, this short feature is worth a watch.

Disclaimer: This review and all opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author, , and do not reflect the views or opinions of The New York Times or any other individuals or organizations.


The Whimsical Tale of Henry Sugar Review – Wes Anderson
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Edwards Jake

G'day, I'm Jake Edwards, the man on the street. I've been crisscrossing this great country, bringing you the human stories that make Australia what it is. From interviews with local legends to the everyday Aussie battlers, I'm here to tell your stories. So let's yarn, Australia

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