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Royal Tenenbaums

The Royal Tenenbaums

4.5 59
Director: Wes Anderson

Cast: Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller


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Director Wes Anderson and his longtime friend and writing partner Owen Wilson follow up Bottle Rocket (1996) and Rushmore (1998) with this similarly offbeat comedy about a dysfunctional family reunion. Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman) was a successful attorney who had three children with his wife Etheline (Anjelica Huston), an archaeologist. Each of the


Director Wes Anderson and his longtime friend and writing partner Owen Wilson follow up Bottle Rocket (1996) and Rushmore (1998) with this similarly offbeat comedy about a dysfunctional family reunion. Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman) was a successful attorney who had three children with his wife Etheline (Anjelica Huston), an archaeologist. Each of the Tenenbaum kids was a precocious genius: Chas (Ben Stiller) made a killing as a child investor. Richie (Luke Wilson) was a junior tennis champ and three-time U.S. Nationals winner. The adopted Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow) was a playwright who won a 50,000-dollar Braverman Grant in the ninth grade. When Royal abruptly left his family, however, it was the beginning of two decades of betrayal and failure that would scar the Tenenbaums for life. Their past resentments are bitterly held against Royal when he suddenly reappears, claiming to have six weeks to live and a desire to reconnect with his family. Typically, Royal's story is a sham, but his presence and sincere desire for absolution soon have a profound effect on the Tenenbaums, who are each dealing with thwarted desires and relationships. Among them are Richie's lifelong love for Margot, who's unhappily married to Raleigh St.Clair (Bill Murray) and Etheline's eccentric engagement to Henry Sherman (Danny Glover), who wishes to marry her. The Royal Tenenbaums also co-stars Owen Wilson and features narration provided by Alec Baldwin.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
An offbeat, charming, and exceedingly dysfunctional family of overachievers comes to life in The Royal Tenenbaums, director Wes Anderson's follow-up to his delightful Rushmore. Gene Hackman stars as the eponymous patriarch, an irresponsible but lovable rogue who deserts his wife (Anjelica Huston) and three extremely precocious children, only to find them emotionally scarred and embittered when he returns to the fold 20 years later. The cast is a marvel here: Hackman revels as the shamelessly manipulative shyster with a gold-plated heart, while perfect casting frees up Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller, and Luke Wilson to deliver nicely understated performances as the grown Tenenbaum children. Adding to this carefully balanced blend of personalities are the likes of Bill Murray, Danny Glover, and scene stealer Owen Wilson (who co-wrote the screenplay). The film's fairy-tale atmosphere is nurtured with a combination of warmth, deadpan humor, and comic-book sensibility. Some characters wear the same costumes throughout (an amusing touch that adds a dash of archetypal resonance), and a brilliant voice-over narration by Alec Baldwin adds to the aura of fantasy. As in Rushmore, music also plays a key role. A mix of perfectly chosen pop songs and an original score by Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh ground the film's exquisitely controlled tone. Yet despite its quirks, Tenenbaums falls squarely in the genre of dysfunctional family dramas typified by films like Terms of Endearment and The World According to Garp. And while it stops short of the more heartrending extremes of those films, Anderson's entry manages to find more than its share of touching moments. The result is a film that seems fresh and yet reassuringly familiar, as lovable for its veneer of eccentricity as it is for the simple human truths revealed beneath.
Barnes & Noble
This year's quirkiest big-studio release has to be Wes Anderson's J. D. Salinger-esque comedy about a family of dysfunctional geniuses. Written by Anderson and his Rushmore coauthor, Owen Wilson, The Royal Tenenbaums received an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay. It also features one of the year's best performances: Gene Hackman as the clan's cheerfully malignant patriarch. Tenenbaumsgets the royal treatment with this delectable DVD, featuring among its many riches numerous "Easter eggs" and a making-of documentary directed by the legendary Albert Maysles.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Naysayers may lament that it's too mannered for its own good, but The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) nevertheless solidifies Wes Anderson's status as an exceptionally gifted filmmaker. Shot on location in New York City, Anderson creates a finely detailed, alternative fairy tale New York that suits co-writers Anderson and Owen Wilson's uniquely gifted and tortured Tenenbaum clan. Though it touches on such dark topics as incest, drug addiction, suicide and death, Anderson and Wilson's wry sincerity turn the story of how the no longer sterling Tenenbaums make peace with the past and present into a meaningful picaresque comedy of subterfuge and resilience. Judiciously framed shots, clean editing and the inspired use of songs by Nico, Paul Simon, The Rolling Stones and The Clash mesh adroitly with the overtly literary storytelling, confirming Anderson's exuberant command of the medium. The stellar cast rises to the occasion, with Gene Hackman and Luke Wilson in particular delivering outstanding performances as the hardly majestic Royal and his Bjorn Borg-ian supernova-turned-burnout son Richie. Though they may be dysfunctional, it's easy to see why hilariously ersatz cowboy neighbor Eli Cash wants so much to be a part of The Royal Tenenbaums' world.
Village Voice - J. Hoberman
Sweet and funny, doggedly oddball if bordering precious, Wes Anderson's third feature presents itself as the adaptation of a non-existent book, checked out of an anachronistic municipal library, and set in an enchanted Manhattan. It's the story of an Upper East Side Salingeresque family living in the memory of their own personal FAO Schwarz.
Washington Post
Chock-full of quotable lines and silly surprises.
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert
1/2 ...it's proof that Anderson and his writing partner, the actor Owen Wilson, have a gift of cockeyed genius.
San Francisco Chronicle
A film like no other, an epic, depressive comedy, with lots of ironic laughs and a humane and rather sad feeling at its core.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Walt Disney Video

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gene Hackman Royal Tenenbaum
Anjelica Huston Etheline Tenenbaum
Ben Stiller Chas Tenenbaum
Gwyneth Paltrow Margot Tenenbaum
Luke Wilson Richie Tenenbaum
Owen Wilson Eli Cash
Danny Glover Henry Sherman
Bill Murray Raleigh St. Clair
Seymour Cassel Dusty
Kumar Pallana Pagoda
Alec Baldwin Narrator
Grant Rosenmeyer Ari Tenenbaum
Jonah Meyerson Uzi Tenenbaum
Stephen Lee Sheppard Dudley Heinsbergen

Technical Credits
Wes Anderson Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Barry Mendel Producer
Mark Mothersbaugh Score Composer
Karen Patch Costumes/Costume Designer
Scott Rudin Producer
Dylan Tichenor Editor
David Wasco Production Designer
Owen Wilson Executive Producer,Screenwriter
Robert Yeoman Cinematographer


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The Royal Tenenbaums 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 59 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This film is amazing. I fell in love with the characters and the wounds that make them who they are. It illustrates a beautiful brokeness of a family who underneath all their woes continue to sustain their love for each other. The screenplay was absolutely flawless. It reconciles sweet sadness with just the right amount of humor. Unfortunately, however, only those who are philosophical enough can truly relish what this movie has to offer.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a movie of ecstatic sensibility. It's darkly funny, satirical, and brilliantly unsympathic. Gene Hackman, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Luke Wilson are amazing, and the rest of the cast have their moments of stunning screen time. Family Dysfunction just doesn't get any better than this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I usually stick to regular comedy and classics. But this movie, I do say, is one of the better ones out there. Long, but worth every minute. The cast is incredible, beautiful, and talented. Many in new roles.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Director Wes Anderson brings a refreshing, eccentric story to the silver screen with his quirky family the Tenenbaums. The movie is a timeline of family secrets, and grudges filled with the most outrageous and juicy storylines anyone would want to hear accompanied by an all-star cast. The main character Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman) finds in his old age that he 20 years later wants to reconnect with his long lost family of excellence and brilliance. He then discovers that his wife is planning on getting married, thus creating a major problem. With his antics he pretends to be dieing as a way to get back into the family. This situation created plenty of comical moments that grabbed one’s attention. But beneath the lighter surface of the Tenenbaums as just a crazy family is a deeper story of loneliness felt by each of the Tenenbaums in their own tragic way. Richie, the ex-pro tennis player is in love with his adopted sister Margot and tries to commit suicide. The Royal Tenenbaums is a great movie about an oddball family who comes together in the strangest of ways. The Royal Tenenbaums is a modern classic that will make you laugh, cry, and then laugh again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
We wandered into this movie one evening when everything else at the multiplex was sold out and expected....well, it was pretty difficult to guess from the title what to expect. Maybe something British & snooty. Instead, we saw one of the all time funniest movies ever & hey, it even had a few meaningful moments. Confession: I cried at the end when I saw a certain tombstone. I can't wait for it to come out on video so everyone who missed it in the theaters gets a chance to enjoy it. Definite cult movie potential.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had heard this movie was supposed to be hilarious and it sure was. The acting of all the actors involved was superb and so funny. The story was so engaging and interesting that it kept me riveted. What a great movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this film. Horrifying but comforting, I watch this movie at least one a week. My favorite scene is Ritchie's suicide scene...'I'm going to kill myself tomorrow' this scene spoke to me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the film that i really liked about the natural of relationships with the family and also helped to be in touched with one another. The problem with what i think about other reviews is that they have to watch the movie over and over and over just to comprehend what the heck is going on . No offense but do not i repeat do not talk like this when your drinking coffee latte or walking through a bookstore filled with people who thinks differently. Probably they hate literature and wants action all the time (no offense to people who likes war movies, I also like war movies but i like films that are dark comedy or psychological thriller. This movie could give you a good moral and hilarious outpick. for example ''kids in red sweat jackets and windbreakers with white stripe pads to the side of the uniform running across the street where the cars are moving'' couldn't stop laughing about that for weeks. This movie will enjoy the hilarious out moments and how the family becomes aggressive with their relationship of how they break apart and forming into a whole again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
So there are two bad reviews here that you should consider: the first says the movie sucks because the jokes are subtle; the second one recommends the ''Thomas Crowne Affair''. Well, if you have a problem with intelligent humor, or if you think the TC Affair was anything but dreadful, then you might not want to watch this one. However, if you have half a brain, this is the best movie you'll see in quite some time. Brilliant acting, photography, direction, and story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This undeniably eccentric film, clever and cunning and occassionally unsettling, is one of my favorite pictures. Each time I view it, I encounter more and more similarities to the writings of J.D. Salinger. From Margot Tenenbaum's bath-tub cigarette smoking to her brother's attempted suicide, the details of the dysfunctional Tenenbaum family mirror those of Salinger's Glass family he wrote of in Nine Stories, Franny and Zooey, and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters & Seymour, an Introduction. The quirky dynamics of humans afflicted with an abundance of intellect and a shortage of love leads to thought provoking interaction and observable introverted squalor. The visual aspects of the movie are also outstanding; vibrant colors contrast the underplayed expressions of the characters while the spacial appeal in the organization of each scene appears orderly, deliberate, and beautiful, stridently opposing the chaotic intertangling lives of these amazing individuals.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The above line is said by Chas, played by Ben Stiller. This is just one of the many deppressed and confused characters in this movie. The movie follows simple archtypes, we have a rich family broken after many years, we have child prodigies grown up and miserable, and we have confrontations between parents and children. What makes this movie great is its inventive thought, it is filled with layers of drama and comedy. Wes Anderson(Rushmore) directs and co-writes it with actor Owen Wilson, and together they have one powerful film. The movie is the most original and creative movie i've seen in a long time, it was only nominated for best screenplay at the oscars when it should have won best picture. The mainstream audience will not always get this movie because they asume it is a comedy, this is not true. The movie has times of comedy and times of drama, but it is not a single genre by its self. The movie has a top notch group of actors heading it, with Gene Hackman in a Golden Globe winning role. If you see this movie try not to think of it as a comedy, but as a type of movie of its self, it is an Anderson movie, nothing more, nothing less.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This isn't your generic comedy movie. Its not a knee slapper that will make you fall out of your seat laughing, instead it will have you saying ''what the hell was that?'', thinking about the jokes for days and chuckling to yourself everytime you think about it. The story of a family of geniuses whos estranged father returnes to make amens, the all star cast does an excellent job of creating creative and complex characters. The sometimes strange plot is filled with unpredicted twists. Similar to the directors previous movie Rushmore only in the way it is filmed and the synical sense of humor, The Royal Tenembaums outdoes its predicesor and will make a lasting impression with the viewer.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson hit the spot every time. This movie is a must see. Ben Stiller is classic, and hello, Luke Wilson couldn't be any cuter in those tennis shorts. You have to see this movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the smartest comedies to come out in the last few years, The Royal Tennenbaums takes its laughs not in lough out loud humor, but rather in the subtle and sometimes intentionally not-so- subtle characters, situations, and events that make up the movie. This movie sets a neurotic disfunctional, family under the microscope and proceeds to turn up the heat on them until they boil. I loved it. However, I must warn those who enjoy mindless comedy that this is, as my dad said, ''the best Woody Allen movie that wasn't a Woody Allen movie''.
Guest More than 1 year ago
THe first time I saw this movie my Dad had picked it out as a 'family' movie sort of thing and I thought it was going to be horrible. I usually don't like movies that are odd. But this movie is the best movie i have ever seen. It is so interesting and weird that it make you love it. Ben Stiller is hillarious. Gwenyth Paltrow was perfect for her part, and everyone else fitted in as well. This is a fabulous movie for not being as advertised.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was, indeed, an odd film, but it was wonderfully written and directed. Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson are geniouses. The Royal Tenenbaums had a fantastic life to it that many movies just don't have. I've seen it at least four times, and I love it more every time. Fantastic movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can enjoy some mass appeal films, recent examples are Spider-Man and, surprisingly, Attack of the Clones, but generally prefer the unusual, especially dark humor. This movie is absolutely hilarious for anyone that can expand their mind beyond the tiny boxes that confine most people's. The Wilson brothers are truly impressive in writing and acting, while Paltrow in her elegant, understated, manner blows the viewer away. I was excited to see this in the theater, but I had no idea just what I was getting into. If you are ready to stretch your suspension of disbelief through some bizarre scenes and set of circumstances, you will get more than you bargained for with this excellent ode to the excentric. I rate films on their monetary worth, this movie is worth the price of admission, my highest rating.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of those movies that won't make you laugh repeatedly, but rather a movie whose humor is one that the ''average Joe'' wouldn't understand; however, it's hilarious to those who understand it.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
The Royal Tenenbaums is one of the greatest comedies of all time and didn't receive the full recognition it deserved.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Director Wes Anderson and his co-writer, Owen Wilson, have put togther an excellent film about an absurdly disfuntional family. This is their third collaberation and in my opinion the funniest. The actors work so well together that this exagerated plot seems like it could have happened. THough it does not have the fluidity and emotion of Rushmore, it triumphs by being even more hilarious. The usual Anderson-Wilson themes occur once again: a forbidden love, forgiveness, and the use of the seasons--in this case it is winter. The acting is first rate and the dialogue is quick to follow and even more quick witted. In a year fuulof terrible movies--The Fast and the Furious, Black Night, Scary Movie 2, Pearl Harbor--this film was a pleasant suprise.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Simply the best movie ever made. This may sound brash and extreme, but it's also RIGHT.