Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.
The Royal Tenenbaums is one of those films with huge dysfunctional families coming together in turn of events. The film could have been a clichéd, Hollywood family holiday reunion with big names attached, but the cast is quite colorful, with actors we never imagined would be in one film. Director Wes Anderson also penned the screenplay along with actor Owen Wilson (who also stars in the film) captures the heart and beauty of it all in this witty, interesting, funny, heartwarming, and visually pleasing film about an oddball family named the Tenenbaums.
The Tenenbaum children are geniuses with their own special qualities beyond their years. Their father, Royal (Gene Hackman) has left a long time ago after his wife Etheline (Anjelica Huston) kicked him out of the house, but there was never actually an official divorce. Throughout the years, the mother raised the three children on their own to reach their full potential, only to have their glories crashed by past failures and depression.
Twenty-two years later, Chas Tenenbaum (Ben Stiller) is the businessman and has been ever since his teens. His wife has died from a plane crash while his two children (Grant Rosenmyer, Jonah Meyerson) and their dog survives. Chas has become a very depressed man and rather paranoid father and moves back to his old home where his mother now resides.
Etheline meets with Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow), the adopted daughter, who once was a genius playwright but is now only a depressed woman involved in an unsatisfying marriage with an older man, Raleigh St. Clair (Bill Murray). After hearing her brother Chas has moved back home because of his depression, she plans tells her mother that she will be doing the same as well. Her husband suspects that Margot doesnt love him anymore but she rejects that theory before leaving but these two people dont know each other very well, and we wonder if they ever will.
When Royal announces of his illness to Etheline, he is also determined to make up for lost time with his family. The family gets together, including the ex-tennis pro champion, now suicidal, brother, Richie (Luke Wilson). Chas has grown to hate his father being a now responsible father of two. Richie is quite glad to see his father, but we wonder if that his reaction is all an act. We look at Margot and we wonder if she really cares about her fathers unusual coming, but then again, we wonder if she cares about anything in her life at all.
Margot is probably the most interesting and complicated character in the film as she juggles from her relationship with a western writer, Eli Cash (Owen Wilson), who gets slammed by critics, and her relationship with her brother, Richie. Richie is secretly in love with Margot but fears that people would find it quite gross since they have grown up together in the same house as siblings. We hope for her that everything will be okay for her as he eyes are shaded with a dark outline and it seems as if nothing will ever be revealed.
Royal, played wonderfully heartbreakingly by Gene Hackman is a character to remember. He wished that he handled his family life better when he had the chance and we wish that he could have a second chance even though he maybe shouldnt be given such a gift. We see the aging man as he tries to spend time with his grandchildren, even though son Chas (Stiller, in probably may be the best performance of his career) is still angry with him after all they have been through. He even tells his daughter, Margot, to go easy on her husband. We see Royal desperately trying to sweet-talk his wife Etheline, but she is now dating her accountant (Danny Glover).
The Royal Tenenbaums is a great film and is probably one of the best dysfunctional family films I have seen in a while. The screenplay is a breath of fresh air and the performances are just amazing as we see different levels of one character. The narration by Alec Baldwin is great as well because his voice just matches the mood of the story he tells. The film is filled with vibrant colors and it is just looks beautiful. I liked the film, but there are many loose ends, most I wished they actually gave a satisfying conclusion to. But the film is definitely worth a look, especially for Hackmans virtuoso performance. Plus, it happens to have a great soundtrack.
Read all 80 Reviews
Write a Review
Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older