Movie Mom

Movie Mom


The Royal Tenenbaums

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Profanity:Some strong language
Nudity/Sex:Sexual references, including adultery, lesbian relationship, and technical incest (adopted siblings), brief nudity
Alcohol/Drugs:Characters drink and smoke
Violence/Scariness:Graphic attempted suicide, family misery
Diversity Issues:Inter-cultural relationships
Movie Release Date:2001

Just about everything is a little off-kilter in this quirky story about a wildly dysfunctional family.

A prologue tells us that Royal (Gene Hackman) and Etheline (Anjelica Houston) had three children, all of whom were so prodigiously accomplished while still in grade school that they were the subject of books, including one by their mother.

It seems that they lived their lives backward, though. As children, they easily surpassed adults with their astonishing achievements in the arts (Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow) was a playwright), sports (Richie (Luke Wilson) was a tennis champion), and business (Chas (Ben Stiller) was a financial wizard). But as adults, they have reverted to childhood, and either can’t or won’t perform anymore. One by one, they return home, moving into their old bedrooms. And then Royal, long estranged from the family, tells Etheline that he, too, wants to come home, to make his peace with the family before he dies of cancer.

The result is a crackpot blending of J.D. Salinger’s stories about the gifted Glass children, the classic Kaufmann-Hart play “You Can’t Take it With You,” and a made-for-TV movie called “The Gathering,” in which a tough old rich guy played by Ed Asner visits his long-estranged but never- divorced wife, played by Maureen Stapleton, and asks her to persuade their grown children to come together for Christmas.

But this is very far from the glossy but conventional “Gathering.” It takes place in a whacked-out fantasy version of New York City, where hotels employ uniformed elevator operators, decrepit taxis literally labeled “Gypsy Cab” show up whenever someone needs to go somewhere and there is a YMCA on “375th Street.” The production design is brilliant, especially the house (the children’s bedrooms are magnificent) and the hotel.

Director Wes Anderson and actor Owen Wilson (who plays the Tenenbaum’s neighbor, Eli) wrote the screenplay, and like their previous collaborations, “Bottle Rocket” and “Rushmore,” this movie defies categorization, combining elements of satire, fantasy, comedy, tragedy, farce, and drama. That’s a combination that will make some audiences uncomfortable, but will seem to others to be the best possible way – maybe the only possible way — to truly convey a story of family conflict. The result is messy, even outrageous, but reflecting a singularity of vision that is welcome in a mainstream studio film starring three Oscar-winners.

Families should know that the movie has very mature material including a graphic and bloody suicide attempt, sexual references and situations (brief nudity, brief shot of gay embrace, adultery and a possible romance between adopted siblings) and painful issues of betrayal and deception. There are references to a tragic death. An adopted child is made to feel like an outsider. A character has a serious drug abuse problem. Some people may find the light-hearted treatment of these issues offensive.

Families who see this movie should talk about whether its wild exaggeration of family communication problems can be of help to families who are struggling to connect to each other. What can parents do to give gifted children the stimulation and support they need without making them feel isolated from friends and family? Eli says to Royal “I always wanted to be a Tenenbaum,” and Royal responds, “So did I.” What does that mean? Why did such accomplished children become such fragile adults? Why did Chas react to his wife’s death by becoming obsessed with safety?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy “Rushmore.” Every family should see the Best Picture Oscar-winning “You Can’t Take it With You,” starring Jimmy Stewart.



Previous Posts

List: YA Books About Coming Out and Same-Sex Relationships
My good friend Sandie is my go-to for YA literature as she is not only very knowledgeable but also very insightful, with superb taste. As a part of her series of books that explore issues of diversity, understanding, and identity, she has put together a list of the best YA books that explore LGBT i

posted 4:41:34pm Nov. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Gortimer Gibbons: Life on Normal Street
Amazon Prime's new series for families is a delight. Gortimer Gibbons: Life on Normal Street is the story of three middle school-age friends and the mysteries they investigate on Normal Street are anything but normal. It has fun and fantasy but mostly it has friendship. It's a perfect choice for

posted 3:58:21pm Nov. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Auction Tomorrow from Bonhams/TCM
Bonhams and Turner Classic Movies have joined together again for another auction of classic Hollywood memorabilia, with treasures from the golden age of movie-making, including the piano Sam plays "As

posted 8:00:36am Nov. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Little Hope Was Arson
In a small East Texas community "with a church on every corner," 10 churches were burned. One church showed the Christian film "Fireproof" one night and showed that it was far from fireproof itself

posted 8:40:04pm Nov. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Docudrama about Handel's Messiah on BYUtv November 27, 2014
BYUtv has produced a new docudrama, Handel’s Messiah, premiering November 27, 2014, about the world’s most popular and renowned choral work by one of the leading composers of the Baroque era, George Frideric Handel. The docudrama, narrated by Emmy® and Golden Globe®-winning actress Jane Seymo

posted 8:00:38am Nov. 22, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.