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The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  4 January 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 197,449 users   Metascore: 75/100
Reviews: 963 user | 217 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

An estranged family of former child prodigies reunites when their father announces he is terminally ill.


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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 41 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Narrator (voice)
Aram Aslanian-Persico ...
Young Margot Tenenbaum (as Irene Gorovaia)


Three grown prodigies, all with a unique genius of some kind, and their mother are staying at the family household. Their father, Royal had left them long ago, and comes back to make things right with his family. Written by MonkeyKingMA

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


You Are Invited To A Remarkable Family Gathering. See more »


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language, sexuality/nudity and drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

4 January 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los excéntricos Tenenbaums  »

Box Office


$21,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$276,981 (USA) (14 December 2001)


$52,353,636 (USA) (14 June 2002)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Danny Glover, Luke Wilson and Owen Wilson all turned down parts in Ocean's Eleven (2001) to appear in this film. See more »


When Kumar and Royal are in the game closet, there is an shot of one of the Dalmatian mice running across a shelf filled with games. The games in this shot are arranged in a completely different order than in the rest of the scene (and the previous game closet scene). See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: Royal Tenenbaum bought the house on Archer Avenue in the winter of his 35th year. Over the next decade, he and his wife had three children, and then they separated.
See more »


References Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973) See more »


Written by Van Morrison
Published by WB Music Corp. o/b/o itself and Caledonia Soul Music
Performed by Van Morrison
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc.
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The perfect balance of drama and comedy
9 November 2004 | by (Dunedin, New Zealand) – See all my reviews

I loved this film.

The Tenenbaum's dysfunction (while amplified for the screen) is quite an accurate portrayal of family life. Families are, essentially, groups of people living in each other's pockets, and, invariably, those people who love you and hate you the most.

Don't get me wrong, Royal and his (thermo)nuclear family of brilliant buffoons do not represent my family (or any other in the world I think!) but the family united against a miscreant father is a motif a lot of people can understand. It is this common humanity that really appeals to me as a film watcher, and what, ultimately made this film so very memorable to me.

The ensemble cast is astonishingly proficient. They all lend a perfect quirkiness to the roles. Anjelica Houston is the perfect former Mrs Royal Tenenbaum, down to the smallest nuance, Ben Stiller and Luke Wilson turn in wonderful performances, and this is the only role I've seen Gwenyth Paltrow in where I actually thought she was someone other than Gwenyth Paltrow (this is not an insult, it's just that people don't always do it for everyone, you know...?). Bill Murray, Gene Hackman, Owen Wilson, all excellent, all the time.

The black comedy counterbalanced with the drama of the issues raised in this film left me feeling like I'd witnessed a film event, rather than just another film. I loved every frame of it, from the Baldwin narrated opening, to the final tying up of ends. It never dwelled on melodrama, or the more potentially unsavoury elements, and it didn't sink into the schmaltzy "We all love each other" end it could well have. It began perfectly, and it ended perfectly.

I can't recommend this movie more highly. It's a must see for anyone who loves quirky and emotive storytelling, great characters and beautiful dialogue.


146 of 193 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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