105 Must See Films

105 Must See Films: The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

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Starring: Gene Hackman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Danny Glover

Director: Wes Anderson

When he finds out that his estranged wife is planning on remarrying, Royal Tenenbaum (Hackman) tells his family that he’s terminally ill in order to reconnect with them. His reentry into their lives sets off events, with each of the three gifted adult children struggling to deal with their feelings for him and each other.

Whilst it sounds like a heart felt family drama, it’s much more a subtle, loving comedy. Each character is carefully drawn, and struggles quietly with their inner demons.

Why Is It A Must See: Wes Anderson has a wonderful way of subtly storytelling with an instinct for stylisation and the deeper feelings and neuroses of his characters. Everything is slightly odd ball and quirky but without ever tipping over into farce. It’s like a darkly ironic chocolate box scene.

And this film is no different. It’s all kind of fun and crazy, but there’s a strain of desperate people trying to make things work and failing. And that’s maybe the best part. Anderson makes films that are not quite like anything else out there, and I really like them.

See It If: Wes Anderson fans will delight in this and those who have yet to see one of his films might like to start here.

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