The Royal Tenenbaums MAG

October 13, 2008
By Alex Fritz, Flower Mound, TX

Some things just click with certain people, like “The Royal Tenenbaums” clicked with me. It’s hard for a movie to focus on so many characters and fully develop each, yet this one does it easily, balancing each eccentric role, giving them their own problems and weaknesses.
There’s Royal (Gene Hackman), once head of the family, now an exile looking for acceptance. He pursues the dream of reclaiming his family and ­regaining their lost love. He hatches a plan to reunite them by faking cancer.

On the other end of the ­spectrum is Ethel (Angelica Huston), the mother of the ­family, who plans to remarry Henry Sherman (Danny Glover), her partner. This ­engagement brings a plethora of new conflicts, splitting the family in new ways.

Then there are the kids, Chas (Ben Stiller), Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow), and Richie (Luke Wilson), each with their own problems. Chas lost his wife in a plane crash and is ultra-protective of his sons, Margot is an adopted failing playwright, and Richie is a ruined tennis champion who has been in love with Margot for as long as he can ­remember. They move back to their parents’ house as their fears and setbacks catch up with them. Then things get crazy.

Using as much detail as possible in one house, the director of photography excellently captures the look and feel of New York in the 1970s. The camera work is stunning, following the bouts of the characters and ­cutting to quick flashbacks.

The detail in “The Royal Tenenbaums” is among its high points, as Wes Anderson took pains to show every in-and-out of the household. From a mounted boar’s head, to a BB still lodged in Chas’s hand after 20 years, Anderson scoped out every little detail that could possibly enhance the mood of the film, including the costumes.

Doleful and delightful, “The Royal Tenenbaums” captures emotions and swirls them in an ingenious mixture, leaving a film that is just plain perfect.

This movie is rated R.

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This article has 1 comment.

on Apr. 24 2009 at 6:17 pm
You and I completely agree about this movie. I love all of Wes Anderson's films, but this might be my favorite.

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