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The Royal Tenenbaums (2002)



Average Rating: 7.4/10
Reviews Counted: 191
Fresh: 154 | Rotten: 37

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
Critic Reviews: 45
Fresh: 36 | Rotten: 9

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



liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 252,574

My Rating

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



Wes Anderson, Owen Wilson

Jul 9, 2002


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All Critics (192) | Top Critics (45) | Fresh (154) | Rotten (37) | DVD (42)

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.

March 4, 2014 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop 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.

March 4, 2014 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
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Wes Anderson is an authentic original -- an eccentric and heretical talent.

March 4, 2014 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic IconTop 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.

March 4, 2014 Full Review Source: Associated Press
Associated Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Tenenbaums doesn't quite jell, but it's a beautiful near miss.

March 4, 2014 Full Review Source: Newsweek
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If [Anderson] and Wilson love their actors, characters, and ideas too much to reign themselves in, they at least overreach in the service of one of the year's warmest, funniest films.

March 4, 2014 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

March 4, 2014 Full Review Source: Sight and Sound
Sight and Sound

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

March 4, 2014 Full Review Source: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore Sun

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

March 4, 2014 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

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

March 4, 2014 Full Review Source: People Magazine
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.

March 4, 2014 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

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

March 4, 2014 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

The Royal Tenenbaums is Anderson's crowning achievement.

March 4, 2014 Full Review Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

What the film really seems to be is an invitation to thoughtlessness, a cultivation of the irrationally wilful.

March 4, 2014 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

The very precise look of the film, the clever design and camerawork, which create a slightly off-kilter world for the characters to inhabit, is beautifully done.

March 4, 2014 Full Review Source:

The Royal Tenenbaums tries to be many things, but isn't any one thing forcefully enough to carry much weight or significance.

March 4, 2014 Full Review Source: IGN Movies
IGN Movies

The near-fantastic, offbeat, play-room sensibility of Anderson's work is much of his appeal. Here, the cozy-roominess slots in well with the various cornered resentments, stacked secrets and crammed cubbyholes of bad memories.

December 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

Despite an incredible cast, a darker tone, and every great attribute Anderson is known for, "The Royal Tenenbaums" is an exceptional drama but its comedy just doesn't compare to the likes of "Rushmore" or even "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou."

August 14, 2012 Full Review Source:

Its laughs are like stealth bombers, sneaking up on us to the extent that we suddenly find ourselves chortling even as we're wrapped up in the movie's unexpected air of melancholia.

June 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

Quirky extended-family story with dry adult humor.

December 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

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.
March 25, 2014
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.
March 22, 2014
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.
August 10, 2013

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.
August 8, 2012
Sanjay Rema

Super Reviewer

    1. Royal Tenenbaum: Anybody interested in grabbing a couple of burgers and hittin' the cemetery?
    – Submitted by Sonya T (5 months ago)
    1. Richie Tenenbaum: Did you just say you're on mescaline?
    2. Eli Cash: I did indeed. Very much so.
    – Submitted by Brian T (8 months ago)
    1. 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 (8 months ago)
    1. 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.
    2. Richie Tenenbaum: Dad, you were never dying.
    3. Royal Tenenbaum: But I'm going to live.
    – Submitted by Brian T (8 months ago)
    1. Chas Tenenbaum: Is it dark?
    2. Richie Tenenbaum: Of course it's dark, it's a suicide note.
    – Submitted by Will M (16 months ago)
    1. Chas Tenenbaum: Why did you try to kill yourself?
    2. Etheline Tenenbaum: Don't press him right now.
    3. Richie Tenenbaum: I wrote a suicide note.
    4. Chas Tenenbaum: You did?
    5. Richie Tenenbaum: Yeah. Right after I regained consciousness.
    – Submitted by Chrysa C (20 months ago)
View all quotes (37)

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Foreign Titles

  • Die Royal Tenenbaums (DE)
  • La Famille Tenenbaum (FR)
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