Cert: 15 Runtime: 110 mins Director: Wes Anderson Cast: Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray and Danny Glover
All memory of the brilliance of the young Tenenbaums had been erased by two decades of betrayal, failure and disaster
Wes Anderson is a artist in my eyes, ever since I watched Life Aquatic a few years ago I have admired Mr.Anderson’s work. For me he is a grand force in cinema, he deserves to be respected by any cinema lover. With The Grand Budapest Hotel out this week I thought I would review another masterpiece by Anderon, The Royal Tenenbaums. Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman) and his wife Etheline (Anjelica Huston) had three children–Chas (Ben Stiller), Richie (Luke Wilson), and Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow)–they were a family of geniuses and then they separated. Chas started buying real estate in his early teens and seemed to have had a preternatural understanding of international finance. Margot was a playwright and received a Braverman grant of fifty thousand dollars in the ninth grade. Richie was a junior champion tennis player and won the U.S. Nationals three years in a row. Virtually all memory of the brilliance of the young Tenenbaums was subsequently erased by two decades of betrayal, failure and disaster. Most of this was generally considered to be their father’s fault. The tale follows the family’s sudden and unexpected reunion one recent winter.
In spite of what you may have heard, The Royal Tenenbaums is a comedy. Most people you may have heard it from were probably expecting another Meet the Parents, which I can assure you, it is not. It is among the quirkiest movies you’re likely to see. What other word other than “quirky” can accurately describe a movie that finds bizarre humour in the lives of a complete failure of a family?It’s a story full of tragedy and sadness, and yet the movie manages to be hilarious. It usually seems as if the movie isn’t even trying to be funny, as the tone is always kept rather dark and often gloomy. The (extremely subtle) humour is all based around sadness. Each joke ends in tragedy, and each tragedy ends in a joke. Of course, ignorant viewers won’t find the film funny, and be highly disappointed. After repeated viewings, gradually becoming one of my favorite movies, this movie makes me laugh out loud frequently. But once again, despite the presence of various comedic talents (Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Luke Wilson, Bill Murray), this film is NOT like most films they’re famous for, and people expecting slapstick and toilet humour will hate the film. But if you appreciate it for the strange quirk fest that it is, you’ll find a lot to enjoy here.The production design is truly brilliant, and the locations are fun to look at.
The props in the film are abundant, and wonderfully strange, pointless to the average moviegoer. Wes Anderson dedicates himself to making every detail of the family’s weirdness fully evident, and the family’s house (particularly the kid’s bedrooms) is full of stuff you’d be likely to find at most European art shows, and Sky Mall magazines. Add surprisingly beautiful cinematography, and you have one of the best looking movies of our time. The performances are all brilliant as you’d expect from a Wes Anderson movie. After the critical acclaim of Bottle Rocket and Rushmore, every big name in Hollywood seems to vie for a role in one of this geniuses movies. They must really want them, as they each play their roles with dead-on brilliance, showing real emotion, and each being funny in their own subtle way. Ben Stiller, and Owen Wilson (who co-wrote the script) are great examples. While still funny in this film, they step completely out of character from their usual roles, which would have been a challenge for any other film-maker that I can think of, or it just may be the brilliance of the script. I believe it’s actually the latter. And don’t even get me started with Gene Hackman… (funniest lines)…I highly recommend this to anyone who’s had enough Adam Sandler/Rob Schneider for a while, and is looking for something new and original, that they can feel smart for laughing at.