Whether there are actually aliens hiding somewhere in Searchlight Pictures’ Asteroid City from director Wes Anderson is up for debate. What’s quite clear, though, is that the movie’s playing to all of Anderson’s strengths and going to give all of his fans exactly what they showed up for.
Set in a fictional American town during the mid-1950s, Asteroid City tells the story of a beleaguered widower (Jason Schwartzman) who’s busy schlepping his four children across the country to see their grandfather (Tom Hanks) when their car suddenly breaks down. Inconvenienced as everyone is by having to stop in Asteroid City while their car is fixed, the fact that an annual junior stargazer competition is on delights the widower’s son Woodrow (Jake Ryan), and the trailer spotlights how the family’s going to be sucked into the goings-on of the town.
There’s the stargazing competition, sure. But there are also strange earthquakes that no one knows the true cause of, fears about whether aliens might be lurking among the humans living in Asteroid City, and multiple sightings of a celebrity (Scarlett Johansson) — all of which seem to be keeping Asteroid City’s characters in a constant state of excitement.
Busy as it looks, Asteroid City also just looks like Wes Anderson doing Wes Anderson, which is to say that for all its fixation on 20th-century Americana and stylishness that borders on being twee, it’ll be a heartwarming parable aimed squarely at people who love a bit of kitsch with their prestige.
Asteroid City also stars Margot Robbie, Hong Chau, Jeffrey Wright, Tilda Swinton, Bryan Cranston, Ed Norton, Adrien Brody, Liev Schreiber, Hope Davis, Stephen Park, Rupert Friend, Maya Hawke, Steve Carell, Matt Dillon, Willem Dafoe, Tony Revolori, Grace Edwards, Aristou Meehan, Sophia Lillis, Ethan Lee, Jeff Goldblum, and Rita Wilson. The movie hits theaters on June 16th.