The Royal Tenenbaums. 2001. USA. Directed by Wes Anderson. Screenplay by Anderson, Owen Wilson. With Gene Hackman, Angelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Gwyenth Paltrow, Luke Wilson. 35mm. 110 min.
The adult Tenenbaum children, once child prodigies now heavy with the stench of faded glory, return to their turreted Archer Avenue childhood home upon receiving the news their estranged father is dying. Evicted from the luxury hotel he’s inhabited for the past decade, the scheming patriarch (Gene Hackman) must make good with his ex-wife Etheline (Angelica Huston) and children Chas (Ben Stiller), Richie (Luke Wilson), and Margot (Gwenyth Paltrow), but decades of profound familial dysfunction stand between them. Rampant with cinematic and literary references, director Wes Anderson’s dark comedy has become a cinematic language all its own thanks to its impeccable design and soundtrack, which came to define a particular 2000s aesthetic. Fatherhood and redemption are central themes in Anderson’s body of work, and they are never more keenly, or hilariously, explored than here.