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
Etheline Tenenbaum is loosely based on Wes Anderson's own mother Ann Burroughs, who, after divorcing his father, became an archaeologist. Burroughs' actual glasses are worn by Etheline. See more »
Royal's cigarette jumps from his hand to the ashtray repeatedly when he is having a conference with his three children. See more »
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.
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The film title first appears on a library book being checked out, then several of the books are seen, and finally the book cover becomes a title card. See more »
There's another scene involving Etheline Tenenbaum (Anjelica Huston) and Henry Sherman (Danny Glover) eating dinner together. Etheline once again turns him down and leaves while he's lighting a piece of toast on fire. See more »
Written by Nick Drake
Published by Pubco and Rykomusic, Ltd. o/b/o Warlock Music, Ltd.
Performed by Nick Drake
Courtesy of Universal-Island Records Ltd.
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises See more »
The perfect balance of drama and comedy
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.
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