Over the past week I’ve been seeing a lot of Wes Anderson inspired content on my Reels and TikTok page… and I’m not mad at it. This trend is a warm welcome in contrast to intense dancing videos and cyber hate we usually stumble across online
The wholesome trend can be traced back to Ava Williams, who on April 8 posted a video that’s become known as Girl on a Train. It captures Williams on a commuter rail journey from her folks’ house in Niantic, Connecticut, to New York, where she lives. The clip is 24 seconds long and includes nine shots of the train interior and Williams plus closeups of her shoes, her notebook, her ticket. There’s also a shot of a title card with text appearing line by line: “The first train / Along the Shoreline East / to Grand Central Terminal / 6:45 am.” Its score is a clip of “Obituary” by frequent Anderson composer Alexandre Desplat, a plucky harpsichord instrumental from the 2021 movie The French Dispatch. It’s been viewed 12 million times and counting.
I would argue that the popularity behind these Wes Anderson style videos is that it recontextualizes everyday scenarios into beautiful ones. My personal favourite creator in these trend is Black British film maker Keith Afadi. Afadi puts a humourous spin opening with a caption that quotes his girlfriend “you better not act like you’re in a Wes Anderson film when we go shopping”. The video then follows a beautifully shot yet relatively mundane trip to Adidas in central London.
When he spotted a vintage car parked outside a restaurant, he thought it fit the Anderson vibe and decided to try the trend. “I was just going out to lunch,” he says. “I was like, let me make a video because it’s just quite fun: like a fun pastime as we go for lunch.” The resulting 21-second TikTok has been viewed more than 7 million times and earned him a paid partnership with Adidas for another Anderson-style post.
While most of these Anderson inspired trends celebrate the mundane, Valeria Shashenok, a Ukrainian photographer living in London, made the most of the aesthetic to bring attention to the war in her home country. She’s also an Anderson fan. “I like his style, how he sees the world,” she says. But she wanted to send a strong message with her Anderson video. “My message is that people need to pay attention, that war still is going on in my country.” The video has harnessed 2 million views so far.