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.
Anderson wrote this screenplay with he usual screenwriting partner, Owen Wilson (who played Eli, the Tennenbaums across-the-street neighbor). The screenplay is filled with many wonderful and marvelous moments, and while one might complain that the whole is less than the summation of the parts, the parts are nonetheless very exquisite. The film is stuffed with marvelous moments that are almost throwaways, like a scene in which Chas (Ben Stiller) and his father Royal (Gene Hackman) escape to a closet to argue. The closet is filled with every board game one can possibly imagine, which provides a startling contrast by implying that there was a time when the family perhaps sat around together playing these precise games. Or when one of the characters attempts suicide and then leaves the hospital, a haunting, gorgeous song by Nick Drake, "Fly" is played. The song is a marvelous paean to second chances, and many of the lyrics seem to refer to specific moments in the film. But what is more poignant is the fact that Drake is one of rock's most celebrated suicides, albeit primarily to his cult following. Another detail is the fact that every cab that is seen in the entire film are "Gypsy Cabs" and are the most dilapidated, battered cabs one can imagine.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
my favorite movie ever, and possibly wes andersons best movie...Published 8 days ago by jeremy thomas
Every actor took qualudes and read their lines on teleprompters except Royal and he just winged it most of the time.Published 8 days ago by Tim Kirkendall
Best Wes Anderson film in my book , long takes with great talent ( Anjelica Houston & Gene Hackmen ) play off each other's talent . Read morePublished 9 days ago by BG
Zany, funny, sad, wonderful. Just the colors alone are worth it. A visual feast.Published 25 days ago by Emilia Rainwalker
Great cast, very entertaining, quirky movie. Ending was a little sappy for my tastes.Published 25 days ago by RJD
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