Pin It
Favorite

DVD Review-The Royal Tenenbaums 

by Mike Corrigan


Co-written by director Wes Anderson (Bottle Rocket, Rushmore) and screenwriter/actor Owen Wilson, The Royal Tenenbaums paints a portrait of a once affluent and brilliant, now deeply dysfunctional family that has come to be defined more by latter-day defeats than past glories. It's a bittersweet, at times acutely melancholy parable about forgiveness, acceptance and loyalty brought to life by a sensational cast.


Royal (Gene Hackman) and his estranged wife Etheline (Anjelica Huston) have been long separated but never divorced. Their adult children -- Chas (Ben Stiller), Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Richie (Luke Wilson) -- once child prodigies, are now neurotic husks of their former selves, the memory of their youthful brilliance having been erased by "two decades of failure, betrayal and disaster." One by one, the kids return to the Tenenbaum home, each resuming residence in his or her former, distinctive and individualized room. Their regression into childhood is thwarted by Etheline, who is considering a marriage proposal from her timid accountant (Danny Glover), and by Royal, who feigns a terminal illness in order to worm his way back into the household.


The film's vaguely surreal universe (set within a mythologized Manhattan) is achieved through Anderson's exquisite -- almost obsessive -- attention to visual detail. Each bedroom of the house is meticulously appointed to reflect the personality of the room's inhabitant. The Tenenbaums themselves are almost cartoon-like in their consistency of appearance. But more than merely the sum of their respective quirks, the family members are portrayed sympathetically as individuals with complex, if deeply flawed, personalities. Even Royal -- who engages in shamelessly manipulative schemes in order to win back the affections of his family -- ultimately emerges as a sympathetic character with motives, if not methods, that are virtuous. The film is a tour de force of ensemble acting, though Hackman goes above and beyond in his portrayal of the family's exiled patriarch.


Criterion's DVD presentation once again sets the standard for aesthetic and technical perfection. The two-disc set is lavishly appointed, with two booklets featuring full color drawings by Anderson's brother Eric depicting the Tenenbaum house and family history. The second DVD contains all the goodies you would expect and more, including a making-of-the-film documentary, cast interviews and a chapter called "The Art of the Movie" with stills of Richie's murals and paintings and Anderson's storyboards.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Between Love and the Law
  • Between Love and the Law

    He was a criminal. She was a crime fighter. Their relationship would cost them both dearly
    • Feb 25, 2015
  • 'All Lives Matter'
  • 'All Lives Matter'

    A deeper look at Pasco as it grapples with the police shooting of a vulnerable man
    • Feb 25, 2015
  • Promise Keepers?
  • Promise Keepers?

    The city of Spokane tries to keep its promise not to raise taxes; plus, the fight against public nudity
    • Feb 25, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
Evergreen Railroad Modelers Open House

Evergreen Railroad Modelers Open House @ Evergreen Model Railroad Club

Sat., March 7, 5-9 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Mike Corrigan

  • Lights, Camera, Skate
  • Lights, Camera, Skate

    Two local artists have transformed their love of skateboarding into a new variety show on Community Television.
    • Dec 14, 2011
  • Time Travelers
  • Time Travelers

    For some local store owners, finding intriguing merchandise isn’t just business, it’s an obsession.
    • Nov 22, 2011
  • For Your Consideration
  • For Your Consideration

    A raucous good time from Thee Oh Sees. Plus, vintage horror and a Berlin filmmaker to check out.
    • Nov 22, 2011
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • 'I Do Not Trust Muzlims'

    Comments by the wife of Spokane County Prosecutor Larry Haskell have raised questions about his office's impartiality
    • Feb 25, 2015
  • Fagan's World

    City councilman Mike Fagan has unconventional views on vaccinations. So, what else does he think?
    • Feb 18, 2015
  • More »

© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation