“The Darjeeling Limited,” review by Susan Granger

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The luggage! The luggage! It’s all about the baggage.

Wes Anderson (“Rushmore,” “Bottle Rocket,” “The Royal Tennenbaums”) once again delves into family dysfunction, as the three wealthy, but estranged, Whitman brothers – who haven’t seen each other in the year since their father’s funeral – journey through rural India by train with 11 – count ‘em – stunning, custom-made, animal motif Louis Vuitton suitcases.

Except for a shared penchant for substance abuse, they couldn’t be more different. The eldest, Francis (Owen Wilson), his head in bandages as the result of a motorcycle accident, is the ‘organizer,’ distributing laminated cards delineating each day’s spiritual activities. “We’re here to find ourselves and bond with each other,” he decrees.

Middle sibling Peter (Adrien Brody) has a pregnant wife, while the youngest, Jack (Jason Schwartzman), is still so obsessed with his ‘ex’ that he eavesdrops on her answering machine. But that doesn’t stop him from having a liaison with their compliant compartment attendant (Amara Karan), infuriating the prim steward (Waris Ahluwalia).

When they finally track down their self-absorbed mother (Anjelica Huston) in an isolated Himalayan convent, she – gently but firmly – tells them to quit obsessing about the past. Forgiveness would mean traveling lighter, leaving a lot of emotional baggage behind.

Meticulously stylized and nimbly filmed on a retrofitted Indian train, it’s a spicy, lyrical cinematic feast, slyly written by Anderson, Schwartzman (Talia Shire’s son) and Roman Coppola (Francis’s son) – with a terrific score and cameos by Ifan Khan and Bill Murray.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Darjeeling Limited” is a poignant, peripatetic 8. Access the titular website for Anderson’s short, “Hotel Chevalier,” featuring Jason Schwartzman’s character having a rendezvous in Paris with his ‘ex’ (Natalie Portman), which will undoubtedly be part of the DVD.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.