This is possibly Wes Anderson’s most complete and perfect film. Often I find his approach a little too extreme and absurd. I like his films but I find that they sometimes drag on for too long. I couldn’t help but admire the artistry that went into Fantastic Mr. Fox but it drifted so far away from the original tale that the Roald Dahl fan with in me grew irritated. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou was charming until its final half an hour that I desperately wanted to end. His work, for me, is often too dreamy and slow. Yet The Royal Tenenbaums knows exactly what it wants to say. A critical study of the family unit, and the effects of divorce on the young, drives the story with the vocal narration creating a bold template within which the characters and story can develop. A family of strong individuals reunite when the terminal illness of one of them forces them to face their differences. The Royal Tenenbaums asks some important questions about betrayal, forgiveness and resentment whilst venturing into darker areas than you may initially expect.
A large handful of strong performances and complex characters gives The Royal Tenenbaums real substance and originality. The appearance of Owen Wilson, Anjelica Huston and Bill Murray make this collaboratively typical of Anderson whilst the pastel tints that fill each scene make it visually familiar to his filmography. The script is well paced and contains Anderson’s usual endearing simplicity. Characters talk bluntly and plainly whilst still hiding their true feelings and desires. Secret love, depression and abandonment and just some of the pains that are consuming this family. Each sibling is dealing with self loathing due to their inability to live up to their childhood genius during their adult lives. The Royal Tenenbaums is filled with self hatred and flawed characters and each sibling is also plagued by a unique personal turmoil. Ben Stiller gives a controlled performance that is better than any other I have seen him give. Anderson gets the most out of the great talents he collaborates with, even when working with six or seven of them. There is no main character. This compliments the film’s chapter split structure. Several short stories combine and weave together to create the film’s complete, and very pastel, tapestry. Anderson is an artist who sometimes puts his visual before his narrative. The Royal Tenenbaums is a rare delight in which Anderson manages to create both a beautiful looking and beautifully told story.
Thanks for reading and let’s all keep supporting our beloved film industry.