The Royal Tenenbaums

Dir: Wes Anderson, 2001. Starring: G. Hackman, A. Huston, B. Stiller, G. Paltrow, L. Wilson, O. Wilson, B. Murray, D. Glover. Comedy.
The Royal Tenenbaums

Following his indie breakthrough Bottle Rocket and his critically acclaimed sophomore effort Rushmore, director Wes Anderson creates the most complete film of his career so far. Written by him and Owen Wilson, the script is top-notch, running the gamut of human emotion while finding the humor in its flaws. The characters are unique and complex, the cast is full of brilliant actors, and the film is directed beautifully.

Screen legend Gene Hackman (Unforgiven) plays the family’s patriarch, “Royal Tenebaum”-- a man of high intelligence but lacking in morals and scruples. A disgraced and disbarred lawyer, Royal dupes his family into believing he is dying of cancer in order to find his way back into their lives. Hackman is an actor who always delivers, but, in this, plays one of the most unique and hilarious characters in his very long and impressive career.

Anjelica Huston (The Grifters) plays his matriarch counter-part, “Etheline.” She is a strong woman who, after raising her exceptionally bright children, has to watch as they all derail from once promising lives.

Ben Stiller (Zoolander) plays “Chas,” an economics expert who is overtly paranoid after the death of his wife while he raises their two sons.

Gwyenth Paltrow (Iron Man) plays the family’s literary genius, “Margo.” She is in a constant state of Sylvia Platt-like depression, in an unfulfilling marriage, and has had writer’s block haunting her for years.

Luke Wilson (Idiocracy) is the Tenenbaum’s athletic hero—an acclaimed tennis player who suffered a complete mental breakdown on the court. Wilson plays “Richie,” who is deeply in love with his adopted sister, with such tender sadness that he shines as the emotional heart of the film.

Owen Wilson (Wedding Crashers) plays “Eli Cash”—an up-and-coming novelist who has strived his whole life to be part of the Tenenbaums, but seemingly always falling short, regardless of his success.

Bill Murray (Broken Flowers) is hilarious as usual, playing Margo’s husband, “Raleigh St. Clair”—a bookworm scientist who has no idea how to relate to his younger wife.

Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon) plays the family’s long time accountant, “Henry Sherman”—a by-the-book good man who harbors long time affection for Etheline.

Alec Baldwin (TV’s 30 Rock) is the perfect choice to play the story’s narrator. The Royal Tenenbaums does what few films can truly accomplish—it's both quirky and laugh-out-loud funny, while also being emotionally moving.


The Royal Tenenbaums was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

Posted by:
Seamus Smith
May 18, 2009 6:15pm
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