The Science Behind Why We Love Wes Anderson Movies

There are plenty of reasons to love Wes Anderson movies — the music, the colors, the Bill Murray — but the most powerful reason might be one you're not even conscious of. It turns out that Anderson's distinct style is heavily based on a single aesthetic humans crave: symmetry.

This video makes a strong case for Anderson's incredible dedication to symmetry — and it's pretty amazing to watch:


Anderson clearly is a meticulous filmmaker, incorporating symmetry into shots of his main characters, sumptuous sets and landscapes. From early films like Rushmore to the recent Grand Budapest Hotel, Anderson's penchant for balance borders on the obsessive. (Not that anyone thought Anderson was anything but obsessive.) 


But he's on to something. Research has shown that human beings can be obsessive about symmetry in general. This desire plays a big role in what or who we find attractive. Science has shown that, consciously or subconsciously, we judge others' appearance based on the symmetry of their features. That's why humans almost universally tend to find features like high, prominent cheekbones (and Brad Pitt) beautiful.

Our love of symmetry is hardly a social construct; the instinct that Anderson is tapping into is almost primal, in fact. Some incredible research has shown that even infants as young as 4 months old recognize and prefer symmetry. And other animals, like honeybees, seek out symmetry, too.


So, what does this all mean, other than that Anderson is really, really smart? For one, it should give Anderson-haters some pause: His style can't be reduced to a certain color palette and quirky music. The video makes clear just how much thought and planning goes into every single one of his shots. But more than anything, this is a cool example of how biology intersects with art, shaping why we love the things that we do.

We're still waiting on those studies about the human preference for pastels and Bill Murray.


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Sam Brodey

Sam Brodey is a writer, journalist and University of Pennsylvania student, majoring in political science with a minor in bar trivia.

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