I watched The Royal Tenenbaums again last week and I forgot how much I loved it. Wes Anderson is arguably my favorite director. (Although Quentin Tarantino might actually hold that title now.) I love his superbly dry and offbeat sense of humor combined with his knack of relating to the human experience. I mean Rushmore is one of my final five favorite movies, so it shouldn’t surprise me how much I like The Royal Tenenbaum’s but it had been a while since I watched it and it had grown fuzzy in my memory.
Gene Hackman plays Royal Tenenbaum, the absent father of a dysfunctional family of child prodigies. Now that they are all grown up and his somewhat ex-wife is seeing another man, he decides he wants back in their lives. Of course most of the family isn’t terribly happy about this so in order to win them over he concocts a case of terminal stomach cancer to win back their love. Of course, nothing goes as planned and craziness ensues as soon the whole family unravels at his finger tips. However through this experience he begins to see himself through his families’ eyes and realizes what a bastard he has been. Vowing to change he tries to prove himself before it’s too late.
Anderson breaks out a star studied cast featuring the talents of Gene Hackman, Angelica Houston, Ben Still, Gwyneth Paltrow, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Luke Wilson and yes, even Danny Glover. Normally a movie with so many stars would feel convoluted but Anderson’s understated style utilizes such talent flawlessly.
To be sure, this is the darkest movie he has made, culminating in a dramatic attempted suicide that ultimately helps bring the family together. Not only that but the movie as a whole has a darker feel to then his other movies but this serves to add to the themes he is addressing.
I really love this movie and it has a pretty stellar soundtrack as well. I have been trying to thinking of any major criticism and fail to do so. That being said I can’t give it a five because I feel like, as good as it is, Rushmore is still better.
So I gladly give the Royal Tenenbaum’s a very solid 4 Babbles.