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The Royal Tenenbaums (2002)


Average Rating: 7.5/10
Reviews Counted: 201
Fresh: 161
Rotten: 40

Critics Consensus: The Royal Tenenbaums is a delightful adult comedy with many quirks and a sense of poignancy. Many critics especially praised Hackman's performance.

Average Rating: 7.1/10
Reviews Counted: 47
Fresh: 38
Rotten: 9

Critics Consensus: The Royal Tenenbaums is a delightful adult comedy with many quirks and a sense of poignancy. Many critics especially praised Hackman's performance.


Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 252,672


Movie Info

Royal Tenenbaum and his wife Etheline had three children--Chas, Richie, and Margot--they were a family of geniuses and then they separated. Chas started buying real estate in his early teens and seemed to have had a preternatural understanding of international finance. Margot was a playwright and received a Braverman grant of fifty thousand dollars in the ninth grade. Richie was a junior champion tennis player and won the U.S. Nationals three years in a row. Virtually all memory of the … More

R (for some lnaguage, sexuality/nudity and drug content)
Directed By:
Written By:
Wes Anderson , Owen Wilson
In Theaters:
Jul 9, 2002
Box Office:
Buena Vista Distribution Compa - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for The Royal Tenenbaums

All Critics (201) | Top Critics (47) | Fresh (161) | Rotten (40) | DVD (42)

This comedy-drama about a dysfunctional family of eccentric geniuses is exactly the kind of movie America could use. It's funny, poignant, laced with irresistibly flawed characters and focuses on the power of love in a family.

Full Review… | October 1, 2014
New York Daily News
Top Critic

The film manages to be both sarcastic and sentimental. As odd as the Tenenbaums are, the family remains bound by love.

Full Review… | October 1, 2014
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

Each character, as ever, is tucked into a shell of his or her obsessions, and yet the filming itself -- the grace of Anderson's draftsmanship, as it were -- binds the figures together into a team.

Full Review… | March 4, 2014
New Yorker
Top Critic

Anderson, who collaborated on the script (as in his previous films) with his college buddy Owen Wilson, gives everyone some of the best dialogue heard in a recent movie.

Full Review… | March 4, 2014
New York Post
Top Critic

Wes Anderson is an authentic original -- an eccentric and heretical talent.

Full Review… | March 4, 2014
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

While the situations sometimes feel forced, Anderson has mounted an elegant production, beautifully filmed and accentuated by pleasant narration from Alec Baldwin and classy storybook transitions.

Full Review… | March 4, 2014
Associated Press
Top Critic

These characters are written with the broad strokes of caricature, yet they are neither funny nor, in the end, sympathetic.

Full Review… | October 1, 2014
Daily Mail [UK]

Anderson truly comes into his own as an original voice with a unique storytelling agenda with this fresh, studiously peculiar film.

Full Review… | October 1, 2014
Tulsa World

Anderson likes his characters too much to see real cruelty befall them; you likely will too.

Full Review… | October 1, 2014
Florida Times-Union

The Tenenbaums's self-referential outlook, wayward agendas, wanton destructiveness and wishful fantasy make for a highly entertaining spectacle, provided you acknowledge you're watching a churning status quo that will never alter in essentials.

Full Review… | October 1, 2014
This is London

Anderson may yet be the heir to the screwball-comedy throne, but his creative blood needs a fresh infusion.

Full Review… | October 1, 2014
Boston Phoenix

Anderson and Wilson have developed into two of the most original voices in American film today. Watching their movies you get the sense that you're peeking into their daydreams.

Full Review… | October 1, 2014
Toledo Blade

With Anderson's images, seductive as they are, we can ultimately only guess -- what Margot's plays are about, or who Etheline's suitors are... And that makes Anderson's film an exhilarating experience, a real jungle gym for the imagination.

Full Review… | March 4, 2014
Sight and Sound

Anderson, who co-wrote the screenplay with Wilson, maintains a straight, deadpan tone throughout the film.

Full Review… | March 4, 2014
Baltimore Sun

Anderson's cinematic style gets more adventurous from one movie to the next.

Full Review… | March 4, 2014
Christian Science Monitor

An appealingly quirky comedy about an unhappy clan of eccentric geniuses.

Full Review… | March 4, 2014
People Magazine

A first-rate ensemble cast is complemented by a terrific script, subtle direction and brilliant use of music in this witty, inventive comedy.

Full Review… | March 4, 2014
Total Film

Immaculately written and brilliantly performed (with Hackman, especially, on magnificent form), this extraordinary fable restores one's faith in American cinema.

Full Review… | March 4, 2014
Radio Times

The Royal Tenenbaums is Anderson's crowning achievement.

Full Review… | March 4, 2014
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

Audience Reviews for The Royal Tenenbaums


An interesting, offbeat film from Wes Anderson about a family of child prodigies (Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow, Luke Wilson) who grow up in a dysfunctional household, headed by their father Royal (Gene Hackman), and how the family comes back together under the same roof after many years after their father announces he has a terminal illness, after leaving the family a long time ago. Sometimes, Wes Anderson's style of film-making is infuriating. His characters can sometimes come across as robots spouting dialogue (like in "Moonrise Kingdom") or just flat out unbelievable and quirky for the sake of being quirky ("The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou"). Here, he hits just the right balance of humor to offset the darker, sadder tones this story has. It is never laugh out loud hilarious, none of his movies are, but the sadness and heartbreak coursing through this family is definitely not expected, and in turn makes it quite touching. Hackman is phenomenal, as he always is, and the supporting cast is excellent as well. It almost veers off a cliff at its finale, but it still ends on a good note that ultimately makes it a worthwhile viewing.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

Wes Anderson is an eccentric director who always manages to make in inventive, charming and memorable picture. With the Royal Tenenbaums, he crafts one of his finest films and he directs a great cast of talented actors who each bring something that make this such a memorable film. Wes Anderson has a distinctive directing style, one that is absolutely unique and engaging. I've seen quite a few of his films, and The Royal Tenenbaums is one of his best, and it boasts some great performances matched with an engaging storyline. Anderson fans will surely enjoy this, and like I've, it's one of his best movies and he displays his skills perfectly here. With this film, Wes Anderson seems to be even more confident behind the camera, and therefore he tells a more thought out and memorable storyline. Anderson is a great filmmaker, and he deserves more praise than what he gets, and film lovers should appreciate his work for what it is. What I mean by that is that many people won't even take a glance at his work, and easily dismiss it because of the somewhat eccentric way he makes his movies. I think it's a great shame because his films are very original, and each one becomes even more thought out than the previous one. The Royal Tenenbaums is a fine drama comedy that showcases the talents of a unique and original filmmaker perfectly. With Wes Anderson, you never know what type of film you'll get, but there will always be his signature style of having whimsical characters stuck in bizarre situations with each movie. That's what makes work worth seeing, and if you're not familiar with his work, this is a perfect place to start, along with Moonrise Kingdom. This is a stellar film, one that is well acted and directed and is highly engaging from start to finish.

Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer


An appealing melancholic comedy whose strength lies in how its eccentric characters are so well constructed inside this strange story that invests in an offbeat atmosphere (as if out of a dreamlike version of New York) to tackle matters like loneliness and amends.

Carlos Magalhăes

Super Reviewer

There is some whiff of the golf club with Wes Anderson for me. He is sometimes funny, but what he perceives as humor leaves a lot to be desired. This movie has the makings of a good one, but never quite gets over the hedge. This is just an empty film.

Sanjay Rema
Sanjay Rema

Super Reviewer

The Royal Tenenbaums Quotes

Royal Tenenbaum:
Anybody interested in grabbing a couple of burgers and hittin' the cemetery?
– Submitted by Sonya T (6 months ago)
Richie Tenenbaum:
Did you just say you're on mescaline?
Eli Cash:
I did indeed. Very much so.
– Submitted by Brian T (9 months ago)
Eli Cash:
The crickets and the rust-beetles scuttled among the nettles of the sage thicket. "Vámonos, amigos," he whispered, and threw the busted leather flintcraw over the loose weave of the saddlecock. And they rode on in the friscalating dusklight.
– Submitted by Brian T (9 months ago)
Royal Tenenbaum:
You know, Richie, this illness, this closeness to death... it's had a profound affect on me. I feel like a different person, I really do.
Richie Tenenbaum:
Dad, you were never dying.
Royal Tenenbaum:
But I'm going to live.
– Submitted by Brian T (9 months ago)
Chas Tenenbaum:
Is it dark?
Richie Tenenbaum:
Of course it's dark, it's a suicide note.
– Submitted by Will M (16 months ago)
Chas Tenenbaum:
Why did you try to kill yourself?
Etheline Tenenbaum:
Don't press him right now.
Richie Tenenbaum:
I wrote a suicide note.
Chas Tenenbaum:
You did?
Richie Tenenbaum:
Yeah. Right after I regained consciousness.
– Submitted by Chrysa C (21 months ago)

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