The Royal Tennenbaums, a film directed Wes Anderson, is a dark,
tragic comedy about a textbook dysfunctional family of geniuses
and their unexpected reunion one recent winter.
A brilliantly clever script and an all-star cast make it a
The movie, based on the Oscar-nominated screenplay written
by Anderson and Owen Wilson, is packed with extraordinary actors.
Royal Tennenbaum, the father of the family is played by Gene
Hackman who won a golden globe for the role and received an
Oscar nomination. Royal, a litigation lawyer disbarred and jailed
briefly in the 80s has been separated from his wife Ethiline,
played by Angelica Houston for twenty years. Hearing she wants
to marry her accountant, played by Danny Glover, he shows up
on the doorstep claiming a serious illness and wanting to reestablish
a relationship with the family he has not talked to in years
and suddenly fears losing. Their three children, all geniuses,
also show-all for different reasons. All are fallen from greatness
and blame their father for their problems. The movie depicts
the family rebounding, dealing with their problems and moving
Chas, the oldest of the three children, played by Ben Stiller,
moved home after deeming his own house unsafe for himself and
his two boys. Chas is a business genius, started his own company
out of his room as a young boy by breeding and selling Dalmatian
mice. Stiller is a brilliant actor and has a chance to shine
here as a comedic and dramatic actor.
Margot Tennenbaum, a literary genius, played by the Oscar-winning
actress Gwyneth Paltrow finds herself back at home after a failing
marriage to Raleigh St. Clair, played by Bill Murray. Margot,
adopted by the Tennenbaums, won a $50,000 playwriting grant
at the age of 14 and has not written a single play in seven
years. Margot is a complex character who is very secretive and
hides behind a faux fur coat and an unemotional face.
Luke Wilson plays the youngest child, Ritchie, a champion tennis
star since the third grade. After choking at the U.S. Open,
he still wears his Fila tennis shirt, wrist and headbands-he
traveled around the world on an ocean liner. Gentle, soft-spoken
Ritchie is the mediator of the family, the only one who sympathizes
with his father.
Owen Wilson is a neighbor to the Tennenbaums, who grew up with
the three children. He is an author in the city but writing
about the Wild West. His daily attire is a cowboy outfit complete
with a cowboy hat. Since an early age, he wanted desperately
to be a Tennenbaum. Addicted to drugs, he used to have an affair
with Margot Tennenbaum.
This film is a wonderful story about how success does not necessarily
bring happiness. It can be watched more than once and you will
pick up something you did not see the first time. The dark humor
leaves you chuckling, and each member of the cast gives a very
Next time you browse around Blockbuster, check out The Royal
Tennenbaums and treat yourself to a good movie.