No hype. No hoopla.
Arthur J. Pais
If you are tired of the much hyped movies of the season and want to see an eccentric comedy (which is not without its heart wrenching moments) director Wes Anderson’s devilish, utterly clever The Royal Tenenbaums is just what the doctor ordered.
The movie could become one of the biggest cult hits of our times.
Reportedly, the screenplay of The Royal Tenenbaums was in works for over a year.
"We had the idea of a family of geniuses, each member being exceptional and adept at a particular skill," Anderson, whose third movie this is, says.
"But family life was so awful that it left each of the children as they grew older particularly ill suited to deal with any of the problems that most people are able to handle.
The most interesting character is almost an afterthought.
"We had a good idea of the characters and who they were long before there was any story,” Anderson notes.
“I've never had a movie where it started with a plot, but the characters gave us a plot and sort of took over. Royal (Gene Hackman) was not the main character at the beginning, everybody had this malaise and were swirling around each other when that character came in and took over because he made things happen in the story.”
A story of a quaint family, The Royal Tenenbaums offers lot of laughs and, also, plenty to think about relationships and the price of celebrity status.
Plus, it has some of the finest performances seen in a long time in America.
Of particular delight is Gene Hackman, who unwittingly creates a family of misfits.Hoping to make peace with his estranged children and wife, he feigns terminal cancer.
This is the third film in a row to star Hackman. However, here, with his roguish charm, he offers a performance far superior to the ones in Heist and Behind Enemy Lines.
Expect an Oscar nomination for this actor who is in his early 70's but shows no signs of tiring down.
One must also mention the superior performances coming from Ben Stiller (as his son Chas, a financial wizard, who has become paranoid after his wife’s death in a plane accident), Gwyneth Paltrow (as daughter Margot, the playwright, who spends more time in her bathtub and in bed with her paramours than writing) and Luke Wilson (Richie, the tennis pro, who sighs for his adopted sister Margot).
Then there is Angelica Huston, as Etheline (Royal’s wife), who has prepared her three children for greatness but has not really thought about preparing them for ordinary life.
There are some wonderfully written small parts that give Danny Glover and Bill Murray opportunity for terrific performances.
Not to forget Kumar Pallana, a small time actor and yoga instructor, whose presence in the film as a servant spy in the Royal household is crucial to the movie.
Cast: Gene Hackman, Angelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Luke Wilson
Writing: Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson
Direction: Wes Anderson