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

  • Crash > Click > Cash
  • Crash > Click > Cash

    Lawyers and chiropractors already have your name, your address and the police report from your car accident — and they want you to hire them
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Starting Small
  • Starting Small

    A village of tiny houses in Spokane Valley could serve as a model for fighting homelessness in the region
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Drastic Action
  • Drastic Action

    Spokane among seven school districts sued by State Superintendent of Public Instruction; plus, trio of police-chief finalists are in town
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue
The Golden Spike

The Golden Spike @ Spark Center

Fri., July 29, 10 a.m.-6 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

  • Lane Ends Ahead

    Spokane wants to improve a mile-long section of Monroe — but that means taking away two lanes
    • Jul 7, 2016
  • Too Smart for School

    What happens when a 12-year-old prodigy tries to go to college in Spokane?
    • Jun 30, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

green zone


marijuana


Briefs


election 2016


trail mix


Readers also liked…

  • Untold Damages
  • Untold Damages

    For three wrongfully convicted Spokane Valley men, the fight for justice isn't over
    • Feb 5, 2015
  • State of Play
  • State of Play

    Medical education and gun safety get hearings in Olympia
    • Feb 11, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation