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The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  4 January 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 192,974 users   Metascore: 75/100
Reviews: 962 user | 215 critic | 33 from

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 11 wins & 39 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?


Wes Anderson and Andrew Wilson provided the voices for the commentators during Richie Tenenbaum's tennis match. Many viewers thought it was a cameo from Jason Schwartzman, star of Anderson's previous film, Rushmore (1998). Also, the Wilson brothers all have similar sounding voices, therefore many people think that it is Owen Wilson providing the voice of the second commentator. Anderson also plays bass on the reggae in the initial sequence. See more »


Artist Elliott Puckette's name is badly misspelled in the credits (her paintings appear in the film). 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 »


Featured in 50 Films to See Before You Die (2006) See more »


She Smiled Sweetly
Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
Published by ABKCO Music, Inc.
Performed by The Rolling Stones
Courtesy of ABKCO Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

"Hilariously tragic" is a great way to describe this outstanding, quirky comedy.
25 October 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

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 humor in the lives of a complete failure of a family?

The plot is always fascinating, and consistently entertaining. The three Tenenbaum children, Richie (Luke Wilson), Margot (Gweneth Paltrow), and Chas (Ben Stiller), were geniuses growing up, who each accomplished more in their childhood than most people do in their entire lives. Richie became a champion tennis player by age 17, Margot wrote plays and won a Pulitzer prize in 9th grade, and Chas, a financial expert, started a real estate company in his early teens. Unfortunately, they lacked support from their obnoxious father, Royal (Gene Hackman), and when their glory ended, the family became estranged from one another, and each of the three kids became a neurotic mess of an adult, with Margot being unhappily married to a neurologist, Raleigh St. Clair (Bill Murray), Chas being an overprotective father to his two sons after a family tragedy, and Richie spending all his time at sea. When Royal finds out that his ex-wife, Etheline (Anjelica Huston) is contemplating marrying Henry Sherman (Danny Glover), he fakes a terminal illness, hoping to find redemption and acceptance from his estranged family. Meanwhile, a family friend, Eli Cash (Owen Wilson) is struggling with a drug problem.

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) humor 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 humor 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 filmmaker 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, and give it a 10.

It is rated R Some Language, Sexuality/Nudity, and Drug Content Sex: 7/10 Violence: 5/10 Swearing: 5/10 Drugs: 5/10

11 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Gwenyth Paltrow monkeycatt
Just not that good. LoveoftheScreen
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This is one of those 'get it' or 'don't get it' movies. HenchmanZero
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Owen Wilson's Contribution quintaros
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