Movie Review: The Royal Tenenbaums

 

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The Royal Tenenbaums was directed by Wes Anderson in 2001. This charming film includes many major actors, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Owen Wilson, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, Danny Glover, and Bill Murray. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the film and would recommend it to any Wes Anderson fan. The central concept to be gleaned from this movie is that every family is still a family, no matter how dysfunctional.  The Royal Tenenbaums is the tale of the three lives of prodigal siblings who, after experiencing significant success in their youth, hit rock bottom during their teens and continuing after their father who was the figurehead of the household, Raleigh St. Clarie, abandons them as well as their mother.  Starting with a brief history of how the Tenenbaums came to acquire their current residence, the three children (Margot, Chas, and Richie) learn that their father is being kicked out of their house. Margot, an accomplished playwright, was adopted by the Tenenbaums at age two then won a large grant for a play she wrote her freshmen year of high school. Chas is a mathematical whiz who has a ‘natural knack’ for understanding how global finance works. Chas is so successful that Royal steals from him. Richie, the only child who receives affection from their father, is a tennis pro as well as a struggling artist. Going out on regular outings with their father, he convinces the others to let them stay in their home later in the film. The final central character is Eli Cash, who lives with an elderly relative across from the Tenenbaums and is a pseudo-sibling of Margot, Chas, and Richie as they grow up. A majority of the movie is centered on their young adult years and the transition into growing up, something that evaded them despite their success. I would highly recommend this film to anyone who can understand the dialogue and enjoys satire. After a thoroughly enjoyable plot full of twists and turns, the film ends with Margot releasing a new play based on her family, Raleigh publishes a book involving a child he studies througout the movie, Eli becomes drug free at a facility in North Dakota, and Richie teaches a competitive junior tennis program at the YMCA. Royal has improved his relationship with all of the children before he dies with only Chas to accompany him at age 68. The final scene is everyone exiting the graveyard after the funeral and a sense of peace that settles over both them, and the enchanted audience.

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