The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)


Comedy, Drama


Wes Anderson




Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Danny Glover, Bill Murray, Stephen Lea Sheppard, Kumar Pallana, Seymour Cassel, Andrew Wilson, Alec Baldwin, Aram Aslanian-Persico, Irene Gorovaia, Amedeo Turturro, James Fitzgerald


Royal (Gene Hackman) and his wife Etheline Tenenbaum (Anjelica Huston) had three children, Chas (Ben Stiller, adult - Aram Aslanian, young), Richie (Luke Wilson, adult - Amedeo Turturro, young), and Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow, adult - Irene Gorovaia, young). They were a family of geniuses but then they separated. After two decades of betrayal, failure and disaster the family reunites when the father announces he is terminally ill.


After watching "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and loving it, I told myself I had to know better Wes Anderson. I'm just disappointed with myself because it took me so long to watch another of his masterpieces.

My second Anderson, but Anderson's third, The Royal Tenenbaums is a brilliant, appealing, funny, quirky, sarcastic, sentimental and poignant dramedy, perfectly balancing drama and comedy, whose strength lies in its eccentric characters.

Wes Anderson's direction is absolutely magnificent, and he manages to make interesting the daily life of a dysfunctional American family, and, through the irony of the characters, he manages to talk about feelings in a odd, soft way. The camera angles goes from right to left, top to down - or the other way around -, not never forward. 

The Anderson/Wilson writing is definitely unique, and witty, the storyline is bizarre, and the characters are quirky. I did love the chapters structuring, and the loquace narration by Alec Baldwin, which gives the same sensation of reading a book. The characters are all memorable, starting from the childish, dandy father, passing through the former infant prodigies in need of love, arriving at the loyal servant.

The scenography is lit up with bright, garish colours, and the looking-oldish cinematography is absolutely stunning. The soundtrack is sublime and appropriate, and among the songs definitely pops out The Beatles "Hey Jude" performed by the Mutato Muzika Orchestra.

The acting is top-notch. Gene Hackman plays the role of Royal with confidence, and delivers an intense performance. Gwyneth Paltrow is wonderful as the depressed Margot. Bill Murray also gives a great performance as Paltrow's cuckold husband. Ben Stiller and the Wilsons' brothers really surprised me: I ain't gonna lie, I was afraid they were going to ruin the film.

Royal: He saved my life, you know. Thirty years ago. I was knifed at a bazaar in Calcutta, and he carried me to the hospital on his back.
Ari: Who stabbed you?
Royal: He did. There was a price on my head, and he was a hired assassin. Stuck me in the gut with a shiv.

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