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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Royal Tenenbaums-Why this a great Indie Classic

If you want to see a movie that will make you laugh, touch your heart, and also wonder if there are people as eccentric as the characters in the film, you have to see The Royal Tenenbaums. This movie, starring Gene Hackman, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Ben Stiller is a story about a family of genius children who come together after the false announcement that their father is desperately ill. The genius children are Margot, an accomplished writer, Richie, a world champion Tennis player, and Chas, a successful businessman and accountant.

The actor who stole this movie, in my opinion, was Gene Hackman. Hackman is a chameleon in a sense,being that he can adapt to any role and puts believability into his performance. As the father, Royal Tenenbaum, Hackman is truly funny, and also touching. He can make you believe a lie and tell it so good (a great scene, when he approaches his ex-wife Ethel (played well by Anjelica Huston) and tells her that he is dying. Hackman sounds convincing, even holding his stomach like he needs an operation. Another funny scene is when Royal and his son Chas (played by Ben Stiller, who I was not used to seeing play a serious character like this!) are playing a game. The movie goes back to when Chas was young, acting out this game which required him using a BB gun. Royal decided to join in on the fun, but accidentally shoots Chas, who is on his team, in the finger.

Gwyneth Paltrow is great as Margot Tennebaum, the dark, sullen child of the family. Paltrow shows this side of Margot with her stoic vocal tone, expressionless face, and also her nonchalant attitude. While we see this part of Margot, there is also a sweet side to her. Margot loves her brother Richie (actor Luke Wilson). When she greets Richie as she sees him arrive at the bus station, she says “turn around, let me get a look at you”. Viewing this scene, I could relate: when my family has not seen me, they have to look, see how I am doing, how I am taking care of myself. While at first I was moved by the relationship Margot and Richie had, later in the movie I found out that it was more than family love; Richie was actually in love with Margot!! ( Margot was also the adopted child in the family.)

It was nice to see in this movie Ben Stiller playing a serious role as Chas Tenenbaum. Chas was also a widower, who had survived a plane crash with this two sons. Sadly, his wife did not. Stiller shows with conviction how this man Chas is trying to hold it all together yet raise his sons through his overprotective stance towards them and also his over the top safety habits (funny scene, when Chas has his sons wake up and quickly performs a fire drill. They end up staying at his mom Ethel’s house, because Chas does not feel safe). I enjoyed seeing Stiller in this role, but I missed seeing him be funny. I guess I am spoiled in that way; have to get used to some comedians doing dramatic work!

The Royal Tenenbaums is a great family film as well. When the Tenebaum siblings learn that their father is sick, they come together to support him. It is amazing how in this film, each one returns home in some way,due to a failing marriage ( Margot’s) a need for protection ( Chas) or just coming home to show love toward their fathers situation ( Richie, played wonderfully by actor Luke Wilson). You see how the siblings bond with each other through conversations and time spent together. Also through this film, the relationship between a grandfather and his grandkids can be seen. Royal really wants to get to know Chas’s two sons Ari and Uzi ( what names!). Chas has kept the boys away from Royal due to the rocky relationship with his dad. Royal refuses to let Chas’s stubborn ways get in between the bonding he desires with his grandsons. So, he arranges for them to meet up for fun activities such as getting ice cream, go cart riding, and even stealing things from the store and running away! The boys, in the end, end up liking Royal and humorously call him “Pappy”.

In conclusion, The Royal Tenenbaums features great performances from each of its actors. I cannot forget the great work Danny Glover, Owen Wilson, and Anjelica Huston did in this movie. Each brought a fresh and honest spirit to their characters. If you have not seen The Royal Tenenbaums, I recommend doing so. Wes Anderson, who directed,and Owen Wilson, who was a writer on this film, really put together a great story and led an ensemble of talented actors well. You can just see this through the magnificent acting done.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really liked the Royal Tenenbaums too.