Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

This film is so comforting.  It feels warm and cozy, like a cup of hot cocoa.  No matter how bad I am feeling, it will always make me smile.*  

Even though it's a comedy, it's not a constant laugh fest focusing on fart jokes and other bathroom humor. In Shakespeare's day, a comedy was a generally happy play that ends with a wedding while a tragedy was a sad play where everyone dies. Since not everyone dies at the end, by default, this is a comedy.  I like this film more than most comedies I have seen since 2000.

Something I noticed is that even though its a big family, there is a great sense of loneliness.  Margot takes a break from her marriage to live at home.  Chas lost his wife and moves himself and his children home too.  Ritchie never had anyone and moves home to see Margot.  Even Royal could never bring himself to divorce his wife and comes home when the threat of losing her to someone else becomes real. But, in the end, they all have each other as a family.

Is Royal a likeable character?  Not technically, but yes, I am compelled to like him.  Even though he never legally divorced his wife, he still left her to raise their three children by herself.  He finally returns, not for his adult children or grandchildren, but purely for selfish reasons. One, he is broke, and two, he wants to keep his wife from marrying her accountant.  Throughout the film, everything is does is self-serving. Also faking a serious illness is a really terrible thing to do.  I think they forgave him too easily for that.

The best part of the movie is the acting. I love everyone's performance in this movie. Although I did find it odd that the only two actual brothers (Owen Wilson and Luke Wilson) in the movie were not playing relatives!  I wish that they along with Ben Stiller would do more Wes Anderson comedies because it seems like a great vehicle for them and a lot better than certain movies they've done lately. Also, I liked the soundtrack. The music fit perfectly with what was going on in the movie. I will give this movie a 9/10.

 *I feel the same way about another Wes Anderson film, The Life Aquatic. I'll have to write about it sometime.


  1. I looooooooooooove this movie. And it's so funny that you posted this today, because as I was driving home from work, I thought to myself, "I should really get a review for Royal Tenenbaums written and posted!"

    The soundtrack is fantastic, as is Wes Anderson's meticulously staged shots. I love the symmetry of the movie.

    1. Thanks. :) I love all the small details in each scene. Such as their rooms are decorated as if the character actually had grown up there. It's very believable to me.