Wittier, a lot more enjoyable and infinitely richer than the year's major Oscar contenders, this is clearly a blood brother to Anderson's Rushmore. The Tenenbaums are New York high society gone to seed. Scandalous Royal (Hackman) separated from wife Etheline (Huston) two decades ago, and after that kept his distance as his once prodigious offspring slumped. Business whizz Chas (Stiller) has become a paranoid neurotic; Richie (Wilson) is a tennis star whose career was sacrificed to love; adopted daughter Margot (Paltrow) is a closed book of a playwright. Financially embarrassed and claiming a dying man's last rights, Royal returns to put his house in order. The milieu is reminiscent of Preston Sturges' screwball fancies from the early 1940s - albeit scored to '70s rock. Anderson's unusually pronounced literary influences include Salinger, Edith Wharton and the New Yorker magazine, and the film sometimes resembles a cartoon from that august publication's glory days: an elegantly composed caricature given the finishing touch with an immaculately turned one-liner. It exists in a bubble - Anderson's New York doesn't exist and never did - but the rarefied atmosphere is a bit of a blind; what sneaks up on you is how, in his deliciously roundabout way, Anderson wears irony on his sleeve to camouflage a deeper sincerity. At its heart, this is a comedy of unrequited love, melancholy and disappointment. One to savour.
The Royal Tenenbaums
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Wes Anderson, Owen Wilson|