Marianne suggested I post some of my full-length movie reviews for your reading pleasure. I will begin with some older films that you can easily find on video or DVD if you are interested.
The Royal Tenenbaums
As I settled in to watch this black comedy, I was instantly delighted and reminded of another Wes Anderson movie, Rushmore. I was not disappointed, as the film lived up to its predecessor and then surpassed it. There are not many movies today that have left me with such a great feeling and grinning from ear to ear as I exited the theater, enchanted with its originality, inventiveness and the sheer pleasure of viewing it.
The Tenenbaum family is played by a host of very capable actors, including Gene Hackman as the aging patriarch of the family, Angelica Huston as his estranged wife Etheline, and Ben Stiller, Gweneth Paltrow and Luke Wilson as their three adult progeny. Owen Wilson, who also wrote the screenplay with Wes Anderson, plays their best friend dating from their childhood, and Bill Murray is Margot’s (Gweneth Paltrow) long-suffering husband. Danny Glover is Etheline’s accountant and suitor and all do an incredible job of staying in their quirky roles no matter what the other character is presently doing.
The story is one of a family healing and coming to terms with their past and the inevitable secrets and not so secret happenings within the walls of the ancestral home. Royal Tenenbaum, faced with a financial crisis and some revelation that perhaps he would do well to reconcile with his family before he passes on, sets about reunifying them all under one roof. The strong personalities within this family of geniuses leave no quiet or ordinary moments, nor is it filmed that way. Everything about this movie is so creative, from the way the film is narrated and the story progressing as through the chapters of a book, to the inventive sets, where even the paintings on the walls are amusing and yet somehow believable for these characters.
The ending is so tender, we’re caught off guard after having been allowed to peer into the private lives of this dysfunctional and brilliant family. May all families have such a healing before it is too late, and may you get out to enjoy this film. I predict you will see it more than once for the sheer delight it brings. See it once in the theater and once when it comes out on video. We should celebrate the creativity in this film, as well as the resiliency of the family, and the Tenebaums in their quirkiness are just “off” enough to make you think later about how it is our families have such bonds. After all, one could argue it is our siblings, those brothers and sisters whom we fought with, played with, slept with, ate with, stood in line for the bathroom with, are the ones who ultimately know us the best and are the ones who will always be there, through each of our marriages and divorces, successes and failures, and the Tenenbaums remind us of that in a most delightful and entertaining way.