Why ‘Anatomy of a Fall’ Became One of the Most Memed Films of the Year

The four-legged celebrity has become so popular that while I hastily scrolling past a post Kim Kardashian made on X in which she wrote “Saint walking Messi out on the field tonight,” I thought at first that her son was accompanying the Anatomy of a Fall dog instead of the world-renowned soccer champion.

Messi’s attending the Oscars luncheon also indicates savviness on film distributor Neon’s part. “Did we think [the film] would turn into all of these memes? I don’t know if we thought it would be memed as much,” Bianca Moran Parkes, Neon’s head of design, told me. “We just knew it was going to be a conversation starter.”

Neon is a newer studio, one that works in the independent space, and it was quick to capitalize on what was catching on with viewers. “I mean, we did bring out the dog for the Oscars luncheon, and that definitely broke the internet,” she said.

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“The memeification of Anatomy of a Fall was not something we designed or anticipated—it was 100% organic and created by people that genuinely loved the film,” Moran Parkes added. “Even though it won the Palme d’Or, it was very much an outlier, a film that ran counter to the big budget studio features. Like Parasite, it became a film people embraced because it wasn’t part of the machine. It’s mysterious, unconventional, and ambiguous. And that resonated. More than anything, though, it’s a testament to Justine’s brilliance and how young audiences embraced these characters, identified with them, and made them their own.”

This is also the era of Letterboxd, as Jack King recently explored in a piece for British GQ. To be a film enthusiast in 2024 often involves performing and sharing said enthusiasm for the internet. People raving about something, even wrapped up in the guise of irony, is enough to stoke curiosity, which then gets more people to watch and be part of the conversation.

“In my experience the films that typically get memed are either really terrible (Madame Web), so huge that they’re everywhere (Barbie), or have a cast stacked with familiar faces so the memes cast a wide net for potential sharing. Anatomy of a Fall doesn’t fit into any of those categories,” Messineo, the YouTuber who made the dancing video to Hüller’s monologue, told me. Instead, he suggested, it has “if you know you know” appeal.

“People who have seen the movie love it and know other people also love it, so they make content about it to create a sort of online movie club dialogue. I’ve seen similar internet ripples around The Holdovers, but not to the same extent,” Messineo added. “Maybe if The Holdovers had a dog things would be different.”

This story has been updated with additional quotes from Neon.

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