fbpx
Telegram

Asteroid City, Ending Explained – TheFantasyTimes

Photo of author

By Jitin Gambhir

Asteroid City, Ending Explained



Whether you love him or hate him, Wes Anderson is undeniably one of the most unique and talented directors of our time. His signature style of symmetrical shot composition, meticulous use of mise-en-scene, vibrant color pastels, eclectic soundtracks, and melancholic undercurrents make his films instantly recognizable. His latest masterpiece, Asteroid City, is no exception.

The film is set in a quintessential Americana desert town and follows a group of strangers who have gathered for a “Junior Stargazer” convention. However, things take an unexpected turn when they are forced to confront their place in the universe and the meaning of their existence. Anderson pulls his film apart to examine his story from a meta-perspective, which can make it challenging to keep track of the plot points and themes he is attempting to express.

Asteroid City is structured similarly to Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, with multiple narratives nested within narratives. The bulk of the film takes place as a televised production of the fictional play “Asteroid City,” in which a group of strangers visits a small desert town for their annual “Junior Stargazer Convention.” The convention is disrupted one night by the arrival of a UFO, and Asteroid City is placed under quarantine. The lockdown effects take their toll, and the citizens realize that the military is covering the incident up. One of the convention attendees leaks the details of the cover-up to the outside world, and the residents soon revolt against the military, successfully getting the lockdown lifted.

The film explores these events through the eyes of several convention attendees, but the most prominent are Augie Steenbeck (Jason Schwartzman) and Midge Campbell (Scarlett Johansson). Both of these characters are dealing with grief, a common Wes Anderson theme. Augie is a war photographer dealing with his wife’s death, unable to break the news to his children. Midge is a successful actress, and while it’s never stated outright, it’s implied she’s coping with the trauma of a past abusive relationship. Midge and Augie grow close to one another, each sensing a lost soul, not knowing how to move forward. Having lost his wife, it’s understandable that Augie is reluctant to start a relationship with her, at least until the end, where he awakens in an abandoned Asteroid City with the quarantine lifted. Feeling disappointed at Midge’s sudden departure, Augie learns that she left him her mailing address, and it’s greatly hinted that things will become more romantic between them, allowing both to move forward from their pain.

The framing device of Asteroid City encompasses a television special detailing the life of playwright Conrad Earp (Edward Norton) and his work writing the play “Asteroid City.” These vignettes function as a backstage documentary, allowing Schwartzman and Johansson to appear as actors preparing to portray Augie and Midge in the performance. Other segments illustrate the play’s director (Adrien Brody) and his work balancing his career as a director with his family life, and there’s a hilarious vignette in which the actors rehearse with an esteemed acting teacher (Willem Dafoe), who attempts to ease them into finding an emotional rhythm with each other.

Anderson is fascinated by exploring storytelling itself and why people choose to tell stories how they do. In Asteroid City, he depicts the work actors partake in to find a character and establish a rapport with each other and how a writer struggles to make his emotional intentions clear to his cast and crew. One can almost envision Anderson interrogating his meticulous, creative process and how actors deal with uncertainty in finding an emotional truth within these confines.

Uncertainty is a recurring theme throughout the film, from the characters’ realization that they are not alone in the universe to their personal struggles with grief and uncertainty about the path forward. However, the answer for the actors, convention attendees, and Midge and Augie is that there is no true answer. There’s no right way for an actor to find an emotional truth, there’s no way to understand the intentions of alien visitors, and living with grief involves a giant leap of faith. None of these characters have any clear way to navigate the inherent messiness and randomness of real life, but they can navigate it together.

In conclusion, Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City is a beautifully crafted film that explores the complexities of storytelling, grief, and uncertainty. It is a must-see for fans of Anderson’s work and anyone interested in thought-provoking cinema.

Love him or hate him, Wes Anderson is one of the clearest examples of a genuine auteur the film industry can offer this generation. At this point, anyone who watches a Wes Anderson should know exactly what they’re getting- symmetrical shot composition, meticulous use of mise-en-scene, vibrant color pastels, eclectic soundtracks, and melancholic undercurrents all make him one of the most recognizable directors working.



x

His latest confection, Asteroid Cityis no different.

Set in the quintessential Americana desert town, the plot focuses on a group of strangers in the titular community for a “Junior Stargazer” convention. However, things don’t unfold as expected; they’re soon forced to reckon with their place in the universe and the meaning of their existence, and concurrently, Wes Anderson pulls his film apart to examine his story from a much more meta-perspective. With all of this happening, it can admittedly be a bit difficult to keep track of the plot points and themes Anderson is attempting to express so here’s an explanation of what goes down.


The Stargazer Convention

Scarlett Johansson in Asteroid City
Focus Features

Asteroid City is structured much like Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotelin which he nestled multiple narratives within narratives, but we’ll get to the outer framing device later. The bulk of the film takes place as a televised production of the fictional play “Asteroid City,” in which a group of strangers visits a small desert town for their annual “Junior Stargazer Convention,” in which a select group of teenagers will be rewarded for their scientific expertise, and one will be granted a fellowship award.

However, the convention is disrupted one night by the arrival of a UFO, and Asteroid City is placed under quarantine. The lockdown effects take their toll, and the citizens realize that the military is covering the incident up. One of the convention attendees leaks the details of the cover-up to the outside world, and the residents soon revolt against the military, successfully getting the lockdown lifted.

Related Asteroid City Review: Wes Anderson Delights and Confounds with His Most Abstract Film

These events are explored through the eyes of several convention attendees, but the most prominent are Augie Steenbeck (Jason Schwartzman) and Midge Campbell (Scarlett Johansson). Both of these characters are dealing with grief (a common Wes Anderson theme). Augie is a war photographer dealing with his wife’s death, unable to break the news to his children. Midge is a successful actress, and while it’s never stated outright, it’s implied she’s coping with the trauma of a past abusive relationship.

Midge and Augie grow close to one another, each sensing a lost soul, not knowing how to move forward. Having lost his wife, it’s understandable that Augie is reluctant to start a relationship with her, at least until the end, where he awakens in an abandoned Asteroid City with the quarantine lifted. Feeling disappointed at Midge’s sudden departure, Augie learns that she left him her mailing address, and it’s greatly hinted that things will become more romantic between them, allowing both to move forward from their pain.

The Outer Narrative

wes anderson asteroid city alien space ship
Focus Features

This is, of course, only the most immediate narrative in Asteroid City. The framing device encompasses a television special detailing the life of playwright Conrad Earp (Edward Norton) and his work writing the play “Asteroid City.” These vignettes function as a backstage documentary, allowing Schwartzman and Johansson to appear as actors preparing to portray Augie and Midge in the performance.

Other segments illustrate the play’s director (Adrien Brody) and his work balancing his career as a director with his family life, and there’s a hilarious vignette in which the actors rehearse with an esteemed acting teacher (Willem Dafoe), who attempts to ease them into finding an emotional rhythm with each other.

Related: Asteroid City’s First Reactions Call It Charming But Not Wes Anderson’s Best

However, Jones Hall, the actor playing Augie, finds it hard to understand his character, and at one point, he leaves the performance and encounters another actress (Margot Robbie), who at one point was supposed to play his deceased wife until her scene was cut. Trying to help him, she recites a monologue from her cut scene, and her speech, which eloquently describes love and loss, seems to allow Jones to finally find the key to his character.

What It All Means

Hope Davis and Stephen Park in Asteroid City
Focus Features

The last decade of Anderson’s career has made it clear that he’s fascinated by exploring storytelling itself and why people choose to tell stories how they do. We see this in The Grand Budapest Hotelwhich also uses a multi-layered narrative to explore a fable of kindness and civility being passed down through generations in a world that may no longer have a place for kindness. In The French DispatchAnderson uses the anthology format to explore the work of journalists and what they choose to include and omit in telling a story.

But Asteroid City might be Anderson’s most metafictional film yet. With the framing device, he depicts the work actors partake in to find a character and establish a rapport with each other and how a writer struggles to make his emotional intentions clear to his cast and crew. One can almost envision Anderson interrogating his meticulous, creative process and how actors deal with uncertainty in finding an emotional truth within these confines.

This uncertainty also manifests in the main narrative, where the characters realize they’re not alone in the universe. Uncertainty even manifests in their personal lives- both Mitch and Augie know the path forward in their lives involves moving on from their grief, but both are uncertain about what would come with this. The answer for the actors, convention attendees, and Midge and Augie is there is no true answer. There’s no right way for an actor to find an emotional truth, there’s no way to understand the intentions of alien visitors, and living with grief involves a giant leap of faith. None of these characters have any clear way to navigate the inherent messiness and randomness of real life, but they can navigate it together.

Join us on Telegram

Best Fantasy NEWS Website

The Fantasy Times is the top fantasy news platform for staying up-to-date with the fantasy world. We have a team of knowledgeable sports, movies, tv series, web series researchers and authors who give you free updates on your fantasy topic and news. Our team is extremely talented and has extensive knowledge of websites that offer fantasy movies, entertainment news, lifestyle, celebrities, sports strategies, news, insights, analysis and much more.

The consistent good feedback from our customers proves that we are the top fantasy news website for providing fantasy news, live cricket tracking, updates, stats, feedback and much more. Before every match, our qualified professionals conduct challenging analysis only for you. Along with the ideal players and their respective teams, you can also find player after-match insights and strategies here.

We can tell you that you are in the proper location right now if you have been searching everywhere for the Best Entertainment and Lifestyle News website. You may check out all the updates by joining our Best Entertainment News Updates Telegram Channel.

We use cookies in order to give you the best possible experience on our website. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies.
Accept