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The Darjeeling Limited is a 2007 comedy film directed by Wes Anderson, and starring Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman. It was written by Anderson, Schwartzman, and Roman Coppola. The film also stars Waris Ahluwalia, Amara Karan, Barbet Schroeder and Anjelica Huston, with Natalie Portman, Camilla Rutherford, Irfan Khan and Bill Murray in cameo roles.


The protagonists are three American brothers: Francis, Peter and Jack Whitman, who haven't seen each other for a year. After their father's death, they meet each other in a train that travels through Indiamarker, which is named "The Darjeeling Limited". The oldest of the three brothers, Francis (Wilson) has planned this journey. In the end, the journey should add up to a reunion with their mother, who conducts an abbey in India. Francis conceals this real reason and tells his brothers that they make the journey because of a spiritual self-discovery. Francis' brothers aren't very convinced of that and are annoyed with Francis' regimented behaviour. With his assistant's help (Brendan) he designs a fastidiously accurate daily plan. He also takes his brothers' passports to prevent them from leaving the train too early. Francis has suffered injuries from a motorcycle accident and wears bandages. The youngest Whitman, Jack (Schwartzman), has written a short story which is strikingly similar to his own life. However, he denies those similarities. Jack obsessively listens to the answering machine of his ex-girlfriend at every stop the train makes. Moreover, he has an affair with the train's stewardess Rita (Karan), whom Francis nicknames "Sweet Lime" for the drinks she repeatedly offers.

Peter (Brody), the second brother, says that he was his father's favorite son, by which he justifies keeping many of his late father's possessions. Francis is revolted. While Peter's wife Alice is expecting a baby, Peter fears without foundation that their relationship may end in divorce.

The three brothers consume Indian pharmaceuticals excessively at the beginning. In their trips through the Indian province, they visit temples and markets. At one market Peter buys a cobra, which later escapes from its transport container. This escape results in the brothers being confined to their stateroom. Francis and Peter get into a physical fight over Peter being the "favorite" and Jack uses the pepper spray he bought in the village to mace his brothers until they stop fighting. Because of that the three of them have to leave the train with their large baggage and are left in the desert. The three brothers come closer again and even perform one of Francis' spiritual rituals. On their way back to civilization they see three boys get into trouble while attempting to cross a river. Jack and Francis rescue two of the boys, but Peter fails to save the third. This affects Peter deeply. In the village of the boys the three brothers attend the boy's funeral and befriend the people living in the village.

In between the scenery changes into a flashback: The three brothers and Peter's wife Alice are on the way to their father's funeral. They stop on the way to get to get their father's Porsche from the repair shop and to take it with them, hijinks ensue, but the car isn't ready to start and so the brothers leave.Back in the present, the Whitmans reach a bus, which brings them to the airport. The brothers stop for a bathroom break, during which Francis removes his bandages to shave, which reveals a a number of large, bright scars on his face, but his brothers offer marginal reserved comfort. However, before they take the plane, they revise their decision and they decide to go and visit their mother, who tells them in a letter that a visit at this time is impossible. Nevertheless, the three brothers travel to their mother's abbey. The greeting is very emotional (it is learned Francis' accident was in fact, a suicide attempt) and the family is reunited again for a moment. On the next morning the three brothers find out that the mother has again left her family and her children.

On the way back the three brothers get a train at the last minute and leave their baggage on the platform. Jack reads his new short story which tells the story of his meeting with his ex-girlfriend in the Hotel Chevalier ... In the last scene Francis wants to give the passports back to his brothers, but they decide that he can keep them better than they can and they don't take them.

Hotel Chevalier

Anderson also wrote and directed the 2007 short film Hotel Chevalier, starring Jason Schwartzman and Natalie Portman. The 13-minute film acts as a prologue to The Darjeeling Limited; In it, Jack's ex-girlfriend turns up unexpectedly at his hotel room in Parismarker, and they spend the night together. Originally attached to festival screenings of The Darjeeling Limited, it was removed during the limited theatrical release and instead made available on Applemarker's iTunes Store as a free download. On 26 October 2007, Hotel Chevalier was removed from iTunes in favor of releasing it in theaters with the wide release of The Darjeeling Limited.

Themes and motifs

The Darjeeling Limited includes many of Anderson's signature themes and styles, such as forbidden love, parental abandonment, sibling rivalries, a privileged class who rarely work and timeless fashions and props. Anderson has revealed that The River by Jean Renoir, the films of Satyajit Ray and documentaries on India by Louis Malle were his inspirations for this movie. The film was dedicated to Satyajit Ray and makes allusions to him and his work (e.g., the portrait of Ray in the compartment of the train Bengal Lancer towards the end of the film).In an homage shot, the three Whitman brothers are arranged in a row by the side of the train after it has broken down. This is a reference to an earlier Anderson film, Bottle Rocket, where characters Dignan, Anthony and Bob are arranged as such for the cover.


The Darjeeling Limited made its world premiere on 3 September 2007 at the Venice Film Festival, where it was in competition for the Golden Lion and won the Little Golden Lion. The film's North American premiere was on 28 September 2007 at the 45th annual New York Film Festival, where it was the opening film. It then opened in a limited commercial release in North America on 5 October 2007.

The film opened across North America on 26 October 2007 and in the UKmarker on 23 November 2007, in both territories preceded in showings by Hotel Chevalier. The film grossed $134,938 in two theaters in its opening weekend for an average of $67,469 for each theater. The film (widescreen edition) was released on DVD 26 February 2008 on Fox Searchlight, with features limited to a behind-the-scenes documentary, theatrical trailer, and the inclusion of Hotel Chevalier.

Critical reception

The film received generally favorable reviews. , on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 66% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 158 reviews, with a consensus among critics that the film "will satisfy Wes Anderson fans." On Metacritic, the film had an average score of 67 out of 100, based on 35 reviews.

Chris Cabin of gave the film 4 stars out of 5 and described Anderson's film as "the auteur's best work to date." Entertainment Weekly film critic Lisa Schwarzbaum gave the film a "B+" and said "This is psychological as well as stylistic familiar territory for Anderson after Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums. But there's a startling new maturity in Darjeeling, a compassion for the larger world that busts the confines of the filmmaker's miniaturist instincts." A.O. Scott of The New York Times said that the film "is unstintingly fussy, vain and self-regarding. But it is also a treasure: an odd, flawed, but nonetheless beautifully handmade object as apt to win affection as to provoke annoyance. You might say that it has sentimental value."

Timothy Knight of gave the film 3 stars out of 4 and said "Although The Darjeeling Limited pales in comparison to Anderson's best film, Rushmore (1998), it's still a vast improvement over his last, and worst film, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)." Nathan Lee of The Village Voice wrote "A companion piece to Tenenbaums more than a step in new directions, Darjeeling is a movie about people trapped in themselves and what it takes to get free — a movie, quite literally, about letting go of your baggage." The Christian Science Monitor critic Peter Rainer said "Wes Anderson doesn't make movies like anybody else, which is sometimes a good thing and sometimes not. His latest, The Darjeeling Limited, combines what's best and worst about him." New York Magazine critic David Edelstein said that the film is "hit and miss, but its tone of lyric melancholy is remarkably sustained."

Nick Schager of Slant Magazine gave the film 2 stars out of 4 and said "the ingredients that have increasingly defined Wes Anderson's films...seem, with The Darjeeling Limited, to have become something like limitations." Emanuel Levy gave the film a "C" and said "Going to India and collaborating with two new writers do little to invigorate or reenergize director Wes Anderson in The Darjeeling Limited, because he imposes the same themes, self-conscious approach, and serio-comic sensibility of his previous films on the new one, confining his three lost brothers not only within his limited world, but also within a limited space, a train compartment." Levy also said "after reaching a nadir with his last feature, the $50 million folly The Life Aquatic of Steve Zisou [sic], which was an artistic and commercial flop, Anderson could only go upward." Dana Stevens of Slate magazine wrote, "Maybe Anderson needs to shoot someone else's screenplay, to get outside his own head for a while and into another's sensibility. It's telling that his funniest and liveliest recent work was a commercial for American Express." Kyle Smith of the New York Post gave the film 1 1/2 stars out of 4 and said "At a stage in Anderson’s career when he should be moving on, he is instead circling back."

Glenn Kenny of Premiere named it the 5th best film of 2007, and Mike Russell of The Oregonian named it the 8th best film of 2007..


The soundtrack features three songs by The Kinks, "Powerman", "Strangers" and "This Time Tomorrow", all from the 1970 album, Lola versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One, as well as "Play With Fire" by The Rolling Stones. "Where Do You Go To " by Peter Sarstedt is prominently featured as well, being played within the film more than once. Most of the album, however, features film score music composed by Bengalimarker filmmaker Satyajit Ray, Merchant-Ivory films, and other artists from Indian cinema. Director Wes Anderson has said that it was Satyajit Ray's movies made him want to come to India. The works include "Charu's Theme", from Ray's 1964 film, Charulata, film-score cues by Shankar Jaikishan and classic works by Claude Debussy and Ludwig van Beethoven. The film ends with a 1969 song by French singer Joe Dassin, "Aux Champs Élysées".


Much of the film was shot in Jodhpurmarker, Rajasthanmarker. The Himalaya scenes were shot in Udaipurmarker, and the opening scene of the film was also shot on the streets of Jodhpurmarker. The International Airport shown near the end is the old terminal building of Udaipur Airportmarker. The scenes set in the U.S. were shot in Long Island City, New York.

Indian Railways does not operate a train named The Darjeeling Limited, although there is a train named "Darjeeling Mail" that operates between Kolkata and Siliguri, the nearest broad gauge station to Darjeelingmarker; see Darjeeling Himalayan Railwaymarker.

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