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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anderson's best
I expect many will dismiss Anderson's Magnus Opus as one of two things. `Quirky' or `insubstantial'. They are, in no uncertain terms, wrong. Yes the film is offbeat, innovative and original, quirky even, and yes the production design is near saturated with wondrous stylistic flourishes. But, crucially, this is not a case of style obscuring substance. This is style...
Published on 30 Jun. 2007 by L. Pumfrey

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
not my kind of film but the best of the three I bought.Acting was very good
Published 7 months ago by Cherryblossom


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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anderson's best, 30 Jun. 2007
I expect many will dismiss Anderson's Magnus Opus as one of two things. `Quirky' or `insubstantial'. They are, in no uncertain terms, wrong. Yes the film is offbeat, innovative and original, quirky even, and yes the production design is near saturated with wondrous stylistic flourishes. But, crucially, this is not a case of style obscuring substance. This is style begetting substance. For every Dalmatian mouse, we get a fantastically realised character, for every kitsch tableau, we get a wonderful moment of human interaction. The Royal Tenenbaums is a movie steeped in acute, ingenious, absurd observation. It's a deceptively complicated fable of human loss, grief and redemption, played out with beguiling subtlety by its all star cast.

The screenplay (written by Anderson with long time collaborator Owen Wilson) somehow manages to give each character of the large ensemble cast immeasurable depth . It's a stunning achievement considering the relatively scant screen time each actor gets. When Royal (played by a twinkling Gene Hackman) confronts his estranged wife Ethel (Angelica Houston) , with the news of his imminent death it's a wonderful moment. With approximately eleven lines of dialogue, we are given an astonishing insight into the two characters. A lesser film would struggle to impart so much in its entire running time. Not only is this sequence informative, it is both moving and laugh out loud funny. It's a combination that the film pulls out of the bag often.

Thematically The Royal Tenenbaums is supercharged. The witty banter, and recognisably comic actors conceal very dark undercurrents. Divorce, suicide, drug abuse, incestuous relationships and death all are brought to the fore, thinly veiled by sparkling delivery and a rose tinted camera lens. Surprisingly amongst Stiller, Hackman, Murray and Glover it is actually Luke Wilson who emerges as the films star. It's perhaps his most impressive performance and suggests that he is capable of depths that his brother couldn't dream of. As tragic ex-tennis player Richie Tenenbaum he shoulders most of the film's heavy lifting. It is he who embodies the film's darker subtexts, yet he does so in a way that is entirely affable, warm and affecting. This approach is synonymous with the film as a whole, and those who accuse Anderson of producing a film altogether too cutesy have clearly just not paid enough attention. His amalgamation of offbeat design and darkly comic tragedy makes for a film that is both sparkling and effectively introspective.

Not only is The Royal Tenenbaums armed with an acute, deceptively profound script, and blessed with fantastic performances, it is graced with a soundtrack so perfect one is tempted to break down and weep. The Rolling Stones and The Beatles rub shoulders with Erik Satie and Elliott Smith, whilst The Ramones and The Clash do battle with Bob Dylan and Nick Drake. Like the film it's an eclectic mix, and its possibly the best soundtrack since Pulp Fiction. With so much going for it, it's hard to see how the haters could be so blind. There's not a character who's not endearing, there's not a line that's wasted. Suffused with delightful styling, impeccable comic timing and sumptuous melancholia, the film is wry, glowing, and finally, in its own very particular way, life affirming. See it, then see it again.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Off-kilter and heartwarming, 12 Oct. 2006
By 
W. Leitch "Radio Raheem" (Highlands, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The Royal Tenenbaums was the first Wes Anderson film I saw and it remains one of my favourites; strikingly original it looks to have been highly influential on the look and tone of witty American cinema and television (Juno and Arrested Development fans will be very appreciative).

Gene Hackman is perfect as Royal, a shabby patriarch with a gruff, exciting way of talking (especially when he gees up Ben Stiller's over-stressed children into spending time tearing up the city with him in a series of heartwarming scenes) whose children were talented in varied fields when young but are now washed up. The story, characters and art design are extremely stylized but it creates a unique world to visit for a couple of hours. The extra details are consistently entertaining, such as homebody pet eagle Mordecai, Owen Wilson's inappropriate face paint and Royal's oddly moving relationship with the man who saved his life, but only after stabbing him in the first place.

This is Anderson's best work as it has all the humour and quirkiness of Bottle Rocket and Rushmore but manages to have more of an emotional resonance than his follow-up's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and The Darjeeling Limited. Those films had the look and attention to detail of Tenenbaums without the memorable quotes and characters that you genuinely care for. For that, Anderson has yet to top The Royal Tenenbaums, which also boasts one of the best soundtracks for a movie you'll hear, taking in music from Peanuts cartoons, The Velvet Underground and The Clash. Sublime.
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite film of 2002, 3 Dec. 2002
By A Customer
What a wonderful film. Poignant, funny and eccentric, I absolutely loved it. The cast are perfect, delivering finely understated performances without a hint of A-List ego. Gene Hackman is at his finest, but Gwyneth Paltrow and Luke Wilson are also tremendous.
It's also worth mentioning the film's soundtrack, as the song choices contribute heavily to the feel of the film. Songs by Nico, Dylan, the Velvet Underground and Nick Drake lend a dreamy timeless quality while certain characters and episodes benefit hugely from the music - Eli Cash and the Clash for instance, or Elliot Smith's Needle in the Hay playing over one pivotal point in the film.
I would recommend this film wholeheartedly to anyone who likes their films a little off centre - if you enjoyed Amelie, say or American Beauty then I think you would love this..
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Different but absolutely fantastic, 13 Oct. 2005
Royal Tenenbaum is about a story of a man trying to reconcile with his family whom he had left behind. He was once a succesful lawyer and then left with no money and had to return back to his own home as he has no where as to go. The story takes you to each individual tenenbaum and engages you with their lives and personality and the dynamics that exists between them all.
I can see how some people may find it tedious as it is definitely not your bog standard Hollywood film. I find it really clever, well narrated and the characters/actors and actresses played really well. (my fav character is that Indian man who follows Royal everywhere!!) There's always something new and subtle which I seemed to find everytime I watched the film again.
Perhaps it won't appeal to most, but I definitely give it a 5 stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like marmite, love it or hate it..., 28 Feb. 2009
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Wes Andersen's films all share an atmosphere that is special to his work definable as both bleak and yet at the same time oddly heart-warming. He looks straight at the heart of the pain of all the characters but allows them to find redemption in their relationships with each other. They are also able to exorcise their anger and resentment about their absent father and express finally their long repressed rage. The 3 children share the common bond of their extraordinary hot-house childhood, home educated and brought up to be the best at their chosen profession by their eccentric single mother who manages brilliant career as an archaeologist of her own at the same time. If it sounds depressing it really isn't. This is a film that gives you back faith in people's ability to survive and be happy despite the pains of growing up to feel different, exlcuded. It's laugh-aloud funny in a way that makes you smile in recognition at the emotions exposed.

The film exemplifies the words of the French writer Colette: `you can never be cured of your childhood'. Andersen's film agrees but offers the alternatives of love and forgiveness as a panacea at least.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Attention Seekers, 23 April 2013
By 
prisrob "pris," (New England USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Royal Tenenbaums [DVD] (DVD)
The Tenenbaums are a family of individuals who create a family. They are separate but trying to come together.

Royal Tenebaums played by Gene hackman, left the family many years ago for reasons unknown, even to him. His wife, Etheline, played superbly by Anjelica Houston, is the thread that keeps the family together. Sons, Chas played by Ben Stiller, Richie, played by Luke Wilson, and adopted daughter, Margot, played by Gwenyth Paltrwow, are a mixed lot. All appear to be depressed, and they all move home again. The house is large, descripit but large. Chas brings his two sons, all grieving the loss of their mother. Margot leaves her husband, psychologist, Raleigh, played by Bill Murray. Their next door neighbor, Eli, played by Owen Wilson, is a successful author of westerns, which garner terrible reviews. Royal comes home, saying he is dying of cancer. No one seems to care much, but he is trying to mend fences. This is at once a comedy and a dramedy. Laugh out loud and then morose. All are seeking attention, and the ploys that are used are astounding.

We can all find a bit of us in these characters and how they react. Every family is like this in many ways. Now, we see it upfront and personal on the big screen.

Recommended. prisrob 04-23-13
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Royal Tenenbaums -Another sweet and fantastical tale from Wes Anderson, 15 Nov. 2011
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
What an absolutely delightful film this is. Co-written by Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson, and directed by Anderson, it is quirky and fun, yet quite moving.

It tells the story of Royal Tenenbaum, estranged from his eccentric wife and children. After falling on hard times he tries to get his family back and be the father that he had failed to be for the last 20 years. What starts off as a purely selfish attempt to con his way back into the family home turns into something more as he realises he really does care for his children, and makes genuine sacrifices for their sakes.

Royal is played by Gene Hackman in one of his best roles. He really brings depth to the character and makes his transformation from rogue to father entirely believable and at times quite moving. Owen Wilson, Ben Stiller and Gwyneth Paltrow all excel as his children, as does Luke Wilson as the off the rails friend of the family. Excellent supporting work comes from Danny Glover and Bill Murray. If I have one complaint it is that Bill Murray's character is very underused.

Wes Anderson directs with all his trademark quirks, and these reall help draw you into the story. It's superbly well told, and an all round great film. 5 stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Royal Tenenbaums -Another sweet and fantastical tale from Wes Anderson, 15 Nov. 2011
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Royal Tenenbaums [DVD] (DVD)
What an absolutely delightful film this is. Co-written by Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson, and directed by Anderson, it is quirky and fun, yet quite moving.

It tells the story of Royal Tenenbaum, estranged from his eccentric wife and children. After falling on hard times he tries to get his family back and be the father that he had failed to be for the last 20 years. What starts off as a purely selfish attempt to con his way back into the family home turns into something more as he realises he really does care for his children, and makes genuine sacrifices for their sakes.

Royal is played by Gene Hackman in one of his best roles. He really brings depth to the character and makes his transformation from rogue to father entirely believable and at times quite moving. Owen Wilson, Ben Stiller and Gwyneth Paltrow all excel as his children, as does Luke Wilson as the off the rails friend of the family. Excellent supporting work comes from Danny Glover and Bill Murray. If I have one complaint it is that Bill Murray's character is very underused.

Wes Anderson directs with all his trademark quirks, and these reall help draw you into the story. It's superbly well told, and an all round great film. 5 stars.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual but excellent psychological comedy drama, 13 Mar. 2006
By 
Greg Farefield-Rose (Hertfordshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Very unusual semi-psychological comedy drama starring Gene Hackman as an ageing lecherous wealthy father who tries to make peace with his long separated wife (Anjelica Huston) and their three damaged and eccentric adult children (Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller and Luke Wilson).
Royal Tenenbaums is a thought provoking film which deals with deep issues like incest with sensitivity but is still essentially a life-affirming comedy. Like Amelie, its story is told in a “photo comic book” format, which, with the 70s haircuts on show, make it seem strangely both a period piece and a modern film dealing with contemporary issues. An excellent film with some fine performances.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Moving Painting Motion Picture, 15 April 2008
By 
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I first saw this film as a sixteen year old on a family outing to the cinema not having heard of Anderson or the film itself. Family outings not being a regular thing at all for me it is extremely coincidental/fortunate/fateful that we should have seen together that night what I now regard as the most moving and funniest films about family relationships I have ever seen (On a par with the Sopranos for me).

From the opening scenes with an instrumental Hey Jude the film put a smile on my face introducing the delightful unashamedly quirky characters.
The ensemble cast really shines with no one actor trying to steal the show. The attention to detail Anderson shows is immense from costumes to locations (the main house in the film is an actual house redecorated and designed to Anderson's vision) to multiple two second shots (such as Buckley the dog in a cage in the aftermath of a plane crash).

I have friends who don't like this movie and I really can't understand why not. The humour may not be everyone's cup of tea. Arrested Development was hugely influenced by this movie and this is also a huge crowd splitter. I am of the general belief that if you really love something and most people don't get it or like it, then you are right, it is great. Maybe you need an understanding or experience of depression, divorce, rejection, suicide, unrequited love, acceptance, loss, jealousy, regret to relate to the characters but who hasn't experienced some if not all of these things.

Generally if you're a "deep thinker" you will love this film.
Buy it now.
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