The Royal Tenenbaums

The Royal Tenenbaums ★★★★


"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."

Honestly? Roughly as cutesy and twee as its detractors ramble on about, but the difference here, as with most of his films, is that Wes Anderson wants to ruin your fucking life. Such a fragile thing, this movie. It could shatter at any moment. Deeply sad, like an innocent dog caught up in an accident. Alec Baldwin's narration in the opening passages invites a storybook panache to a tale of generational failure. A family that so effortlessly strived for excellence as a unit only to stumble into adolescence and adulthood when fractured. That glowing yellow tent in the Tenenbaum mansion is a safe space that welcomes young and old. Anderson is in the midst of a flux here between the scrappy ambition of his early work and the mannered sense of control which lies ahead. Reality is always trying to claw its way in. Blood entering the frame, spilling down the wrists, with the comic surface of every character soon revealing a tragic, wounded center. Gene Hackman's role is one of the greatest to fill the set dressing of a Wes Anderson dollhouse. "Hell of a damn grave. Wish it were mine.

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