The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

DVD Cover (Criterion Collection)
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Overall Rating 76%
Overall Rating
Ranked #479
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Gene Hackman
Gene Hackman
Anjelica Huston
Anjelica Huston
Ben Stiller
Ben Stiller
Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow
Luke Wilson
Luke Wilson
Review by Ginose
Added: October 26, 2007
I'll say that I feel more than obligated to let everyone who didn't already realize it know that I normally start a review with a few words about the films director. I normally see this appropriate because, normally, they are the ones who are responsible for the film in question. You feel the same way? Good.

Anyhow, a few words about Wes Anderson: (1.) He's a damned talented fellow. His knack for ridiculously dry humor can only be matched by his love for linear storytelling. (2.) He's yet to direct an awful film. Although I wasn't as swept away by "The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou" as I was with his previous entries, I will admit whole-heartedly that it was still a remarkably well-made film. His work is always morbidly comedic or just depressing, and yet, somehow, always seems to pull itself far away from the line of "over-played". Everything he seems to make feels ridiculously original and creative, and that is just something I normally want in a movie. (3.) He's a love or hate deal. Most people find his movies charming, creative and deep (I fall into this category, normally) where as others think that they're slow, dull and lack any sort of entertainment value (go to hell). Either way, there aren't many people who take his work into a "gray-area" kind-of light, and I think that's exactly what he goes for.

This particular work I'm about to go over is probably one of the most well-known movies of its kind... hell, probably one of the very few movies of its kind.

It's kind of hard to give a summary of this film, as it actually does such for you (even if it is with that asshole Alec Baldwin's voice), we're given a family of rather rich individuals who are currently in crisis, causing the father, Royal (Gene Hackman), to leave the house, leaving his three children, Chas (Ben Stiller), Richie (Luke Wilson) and (his adopted daughter) Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow), to be raised by their mother Etheline (Anjelica Huston). During their upbringing, the three Tenenbaum children are, more-or-less, raised to be the best at whatever they put their minds to. Chas becomes an extremely successful businessman, becoming rather successful at a very young age, making money however he can and inevitably suing his father over a B.B. gun accident. Margot concentrates on her arts which, slowly but surely cause her to detach herself from her family significantly, and leave off for the longest time before eventually marrying Dr. Raleigh St. Clair (Bill Murray). We aren't given much about Richie's life except that he had a VERY successful tennis career before crashing, burning and leaving off living on a cruise-liner for a year (and, yes, we are given much more insight into how and why all of this happened). In the meantime, Etheline is suddenly and unexpectedly proposed to by her stock-broker, Henry Sherman (Danny Glover), to which she is more than pleased by, however her husband is a little irritated by this news, as it is true that he still loves her and wants a chance to reconnect with his family (or maybe it's because he was evicted from his hotel room due to insufficient funds... hmmmm...). So, one day Royal stops Etheline outside and tells her some dire news: He has cancer. So, in a mad rush of coincidences, the whole family is finally back together under one roof, but, is this a good or bad thing?

As I said, Wes is sort of a love or hate deal. On one hand, his films are creative and intense, causing you to consider the characters as actual people rather than just fictional beings that really have no emotions other than those of the writer. All of his characters have nice relatable traits and a good feeling of... I dunno... almost independency.

Now, this is of course with the help of the actors. Each one of the characters is shown in their own sense of pains and troubles, and none of the cast misses a beat in any of this. Each time I see Ben Stiller trying his best to make sure his children grow up to be successful I can't help but get a mixed feeling of sorrow and pity. This is odd, yes, as even the comedic scenes can be seen in this light. However, even the heavier scenes (one in particular with Luke Wilson) still carry that calm atmosphere, no matter how disturbing they get.

I really can't take away anything from this film (not even Alec Baldwin, because at least we didn't have to watch him act), it cut no corners and wasted no time. It was funny, awkward, dry and heart-breaking all at the same time. My hats off to all involved in this above-average dramady.

bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 10/26/2007, 12:26 PM
I thought this was already reviewed. Brilliant. A masterpiece. Pitch perfect. Nothing wrong with this film. 10/10.
Tristan #2: Tristan - added 10/26/2007, 12:27 PM
What he said.
Lucid Dreams #3: Lucid Dreams - added 07/23/2010, 07:22 PM
I know so many people that hate this film, but they think Transformers and Avatar are, like, really cool. 10/10
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