The Royal Tenenbaums (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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The Tenenbaums occupy a big house in a kind of dreamy New York. It has enough rooms for each to hide and nurture a personality incompatible with the others. Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman), the patriarch, left home abruptly some years before and has been living in a hotel, on credit, ever since. There was never actually a divorce. His wife Etheline (Anjelica Huston) remains at home with their three children, who were all child prodigies and have grown into adult neurotics. There's Chas (Ben Stiller), who was a financial whiz as a kid; Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow), who was adopted, and won a big prize for writing a school play, and Richie (Luke Wilson), once a tennis champion.
All three come with various partners, children and friends. The most memorable are Raleigh St. Clair (Bill Murray), a bearded intellectual who has been married to Margot for years but does not begin to know her; Eli Cash (Owen Wilson), who lived across the street, became like a member of the family, and writes best-selling Westerns that get terrible reviews; Henry Sherman (Danny Glover), who was Etheline's accountant for 10 years until they suddenly realized they were in love, and such satellites as Pagoda (Kumar Pallana), Royal's faithful servant (who once in India tried to murder Royal and then rescued him from ... himself ...Read more ›
Well, this is easily my favourite film of last year, along with Memento and Waking Life, because of it's rich use of atmosphere. This is a film about lost time, lost childhood, lost chances... really it's about losing those things which are important, and getting them back, and that is the reason that alot of the imagery is, umm.... retro. This is a running theme in all of Anderson's movies, the idea of reclaiming your past by bringing it along with you into the future. All the objects in the movie hold sentimental value to the characters (we never really learn what the particular sentiments are, which is part of the allure of the "sight gag") and gives the characters a past and, more importantly, a neural net of their opinions, beliefs, emotions etc, just by displaying their possessions.
The performances are usually critisized as being highly exagerated- well i hate to break it to you but that's really the whole point of the movie. The Tenenbaum family are eccentrics, the type of family you would latch onto like a satilite because you are attracted to their behavour, and Owen Anderson's character is a representation of the audience in that respect. If this family was what you would call "average", they wouldn't be interesting. Of course alot of movies have the set up of a normal guy in an extraordinary situation, but not every movie has to be that way.Read more ›
After seeing the movie more than a month ago, I started recounting some of the more emotional moments in the film as I sat with my wife in a shopping mall eating a souvlaki. I actually found that I was getting choked up just describing the moments and my wife looked blankly at me.
"Is this a mid-life crisis or something?"
She liked the film, but couldn't believe that it had emotionally effected me to the extent that it had.
"This has probably got something to do with your family, you know."
Possibly. But it might also have something to do with a film which on the surface seems to present an artificial and childlike story about an unusual family but underneath captured some illuminating truths about the human condition.
I obviously liked the film because I gave it 5 stars and l am looking forward to spending the rest of my life trying to figure out why.
I can understand why many people disliked it so much but I am fascinated with the concept that I have little idea why I love it.
The Royal Tenenbaums is the reason that I go to the movies. I want to be surprised and engaged in a fictional world where I am taken to a place that I have never been before. And there is no place like the Royal Tenenbaum's.
(just for a reference, the others were "Hedwig & the Angry Inch," "Ali," "The Man Who Wasn't There," and "Training Day," and Ken Burns "Jazz" and "The Sopranos: Season 3," both of which may have been on TV but are of a scope and caliber far beyond most multiplex efforts)
But "The Royal Tenenbaums" took me a while. It took me two viewings to fully appreciate the "Tenenbaums," and a third to convince me I loved it.
This is a rich movie, full of detail that initially moved too fast for me to absorb. It was only after I was able to watch the film without wondering where it was going and what was going to happen that I was able to sit back and fully appreciate it. There's a lot of quirkiness here, and that gives the whole thing a feeling of insincerity, but this is not an insincere film.
Many critics have pointed out that this movie is like a lot of other things; they mention Dickens, John Irving, Salinger, and Louise Fitzhugh and "The Magnificent Ambersons." And all of those comparisons are true.
But what really struck me about the film, personally, is that so much of it didn't remind me of anything else. The open credit sequence, for example, fills my heart with joy, just the way all the characters are introduced in a stylised yet somehow naturalistic way. You have to love a movie (or at least *I* have to love a movie) in which characters' introductions include their book jackets.
There's also the Gene Hackman aspect. I'm a huge Hackman fan but he works so often and in so many different directions it's sometimes hard to remember what makes him so distinctive. In this movie, it's all on display. He is truly inspired.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is probably one of my new favorite movies. It's so aesthetically pleasing and the story is pretty good.Published 13 days ago by Amazon Customer
Love Wes Anderson, so I'm biased. Also loved The Grand Budapest Hotel.Published 21 days ago by Amazon Customer
This movie brings back memories . I used to watch it with my dad over and over again. You can't put a price on family memoriesPublished 28 days ago by Amazon Customer