Three brothers take a trip by train across India and attempt to reconcile their estranged relationships with one another. We meet three brothers, all of whom don't get along with each other, who have nonetheless decided to share a train across India to go meet up with their mother. Francis is the oldest: he is bandaged heavily around his head, which he claims came from a motorcycle accident, yet he seems the most gung ho for the train trip, having meticulously plotted out their adventure. Peter, the middle child, is married with a pregnant wife, although he is afraid that a divorce may be around the corner. Jack, the youngest, is a lovesick writer, whose stories' autobiographical content is evident to everyone except himself. Peter and Jack want to leave the trip early, but Francis steals and hides their passports, forcing them to go on the full journey with him. Francis is annoyed with Peter for keeping so many of their dead father's possessions, but Peter justifies it by claiming to have been his favorite. Jack stays out of this, focusing his attentions on the beautiful stewardess, Rita, who he starts a relationship with. This relationship soon ends, however, when Francis and Peter have a massive brawl, causing the two of them and Jack to be kicked off of the train. On their way to find a city, they encounter three boys drowning in a river. They save two, but the third drowns, devastating them, especially Peter. They stick around the boys' village for a bit and go to the young deceased's funeral. They finally meet their mother, a nun, and they have an honest reunion, which includes Francis admitting that his accident was no accident-- he actually had tried to kill himself. Their mother disappears the following morning, and the boys, having found some common ground and understanding, board the train back to their lives. As they run for the train, they leave behind in India their baggage-- a literal representation of the emotional peace they've reached with one another.
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Best part of story, including ending:
While it's my least favorite of the Wes Anderson films (it's the closest thing to a straight drama he's ever made), it's still well-made, with strong characters and a nice family message.
Best scene in story:
The brawl between Francis and Peter is a real highlight, if only for Jack's attempt to end the fight with pepper spray, which goes as comically wrong as one would expect.
Opinion about the main character:
Francis is a schemer and a fast talker, and he's occasionally annoyingly over-controlling, but he means well and he clearly loves his brothers, even when they don't love him.