At the end of the film, M. Moustafa tells the Author (Jude Law) he thinks that M. Gustave’s world “had vanished long before he entered it.” But that “he certainly sustained the illusion with a marvelous grace.” 

Similarly, Ralph Fiennes said that Wes Anderson “feels that there’s a world that happened before which he might have been happy in. But there’s a bittersweet feeling for the nostalgia for the thing you never actually experienced, the time you never actually lived. Writers’ and filmmakers’ imaginations absolutely hinge on this.”

Or, to put it another way, as Glenn Kenny says of the film at the end of his review for, “It’s an illusion, but it’s not a lie.”  (Link to review on course website.)

Discuss the film in terms of Fiennes’ and Kenny’s remarks, or, if you prefer, in relation to Kenny’s observation that “The Grand Budapest Hotel is a movie about the masks we conjure to suit our aspirations, and the cost of keeping up appearance.”