Inspired by author J.D. Salinger’s tales of the Glass family, Wes Anderson’s dramatic comedy about a dysfunctional family of troubled geniuses remains for many his crowning achievement to date.
A gleefully larger-than-life Gene Hackman excels as disruptive paterfamilias Royal Tenenbaum, with Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow and Luke Wilson offering formidable support as his troubled brood. They are all trapped in a perpetual state of arrested development, struggling with the unresolved parental issues that tend to blight many of Anderson’s protagonists.
Deftly juggling a formidable ensemble that also includes co-writer Owen Wilson, Rushmore hangover Bill Murray and the formidable Anjelica Huston, this is a devastatingly mature work from a filmmaker only then entering his 30s.
A visual love letter to New York City, The Royal Tenenbaums is infused with a heightened sense of reality and occasional theatrical flourishes. Alec Baldwin’s narration gives a pitch-perfect, world-weary gravitas to this fractured fairy-tale.
It’s one of the key American films of the new millennium.
Showing as part of the OOH LA LA: WATCHING WES ANDERSON season throughout June.