The Royal Tenenbaums
- Film Worth:$11.50
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Meet the Tenenbaums: grizzled, corrupted patriarch Royal (Hackman at his mischievous best), his gracefully estranged...
Meet the Tenenbaums: grizzled, corrupted patriarch Royal (Hackman at his mischievous best), his gracefully estranged wife Etheline (Huston in fine form) and their children, tennis champion Ritchie (Luke Wilson mixing comedy and tragedy in equal measures), business entrepreneur Chas (a scathingly funny Stiller) and troubled playwright Margot (even Paltrow is pretty good). Throw in family friend Eli (more comic genius from co-writer Owen Wilson), Etheline's gentlemanly suitor Henry (an excellent Danny Glover) and Margot's boyfriend (Bill Murray in kooky, off-kilter mode), and you've got one of the oddest bunches ever assembled.
Writer/director Anderson got his ashes with the off-beat indie hit Bottle Rocket, made his name with the wholly original high school comedy Rushmore, and now delivers his most cogent and ambitious film yet. With this precious and finely detailed work, Anderson creates a world entirely of his own making; though set in New York, it's a New York that only swirls in Anderson's head. The whole film has a timeless feel, with the wardrobe and set design a curious mix of seventies-styled funkiness and pure imagination, while everything is underscored by a collection of songs that read like the best compilation tape ever made. Similarly, Anderson's script (co-written with his regular collaborator Owen Wilson) resonates with a rare comic polish, and has a surprising depth in places where you least expect it - while the characters are all almost alarmingly eccentric and intelligent in a potentially alienating way, they're also painfully real.
The Royal Tenenbaums perhaps feels so fresh because its antecedents are more literary than cinematic; unlike most young filmmakers, Anderson seems to bow at the feet of author J.D Salinger rather than those of Scorsese or Altman. It gives his film a rich, idiosyncratic feel, and makes for a stunning collection of memorable episodes that even come complete with title card chapter headings. In the sharp, often deliriously funny The Royal Tenenbaums, family ties do more than bind - they practically strangle.