The Royal Tenenbaums

December 14th, 2001


The Royal Tenenbaums

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Still of Gene Hackman in The Royal TenenbaumsStill of Danny Glover, Gene Hackman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, Jonah Meyerson, Kumar Pallana and Grant Rosenmeyer in The Royal TenenbaumsAnjelica Huston and Scott Rudin at event of The Royal TenenbaumsThe Royal TenenbaumsStill of Bill Murray and Stephen Lea Sheppard in The Royal TenenbaumsStill of Danny Glover and Anjelica Huston in The Royal Tenenbaums

An estranged family of former child prodigies reunites when one of their member announces he has a terminal illness.

Release Year: 2001

Rating: 7.6/10 (105,505 voted)

Critic's Score: 75/100

Director: Wes Anderson

Stars: Gene Hackman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anjelica Huston

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.

Writers: Wes Anderson, Owen Wilson

Gene Hackman - Royal Tenenbaum
Anjelica Huston - Etheline Tenenbaum
Ben Stiller - Chas Tenenbaum
Gwyneth Paltrow - Margot Tenenbaum
Luke Wilson - Richie Tenenbaum
Owen Wilson - Eli Cash
Bill Murray - Raleigh St. Clair
Danny Glover - Henry Sherman
Seymour Cassel - Dusty
Kumar Pallana - Pagoda
Alec Baldwin - Narrator (voice)
Grant Rosenmeyer - Ari Tenenbaum
Jonah Meyerson - Uzi Tenenbaum
Aram Aslanian-Persico - Young Chas Tenenbaum
Irene Gorovaia - Young Margot Tenenbaum

Taglines: Family Isn't A Word... It's A Sentence.

Release Date: 14 December 2001

Filming Locations: 144th Street & Convent Avenue, Harlem, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $21,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $276,981 (USA) (16 December 2001) (5 Screens)

Gross: $71,441,250 (Worldwide)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Danny Glover's look in the film was modeled after UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. This was Wes Anderson's idea, after Glover, who knows Annan personally, introduced Anderson to him at a UN event.

Continuity: Royal's cigarette jumps from his hand to the ashtray repeatedly when he is having a conference with his three children.

[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.

User Review

The perfect balance of drama and comedy

Rating: 10/10

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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