The Royal Tenenbaums

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.



Total Count: 206


Audience Score

User Ratings: 255,836
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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 brilliance of the young Tenenbaums was subsequently erased by two decades of betrayal, failure and disaster. Most of this was generally considered to be their father's fault. The tale follows the family's sudden and unexpected reunion one recent winter.

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Gene Hackman
as Royal Tenenbaum
Anjelica Huston
as Etheline Tenenbaum
Gwyneth Paltrow
as Margot Tenenbaum
Ben Stiller
as Chas Tenenbaum
Luke Wilson
as Richie Tenenbaum
Owen Wilson
as Eli Cash
Danny Glover
as Henry Sherman
Bill Murray
as Raleigh St. Clair
Grant Rosenmeyer
as Ari Tenenbaum
Jonah Meyerson
as Uzi Tenenbaum
Aram Aslanian-Persico
as Young Chas Tenenbaum
Stephen Lee Sheppard
as Dudley Heinsbergen
Irene Gorovaia
as Young Margot Tenenbaum
Alec Baldwin
as Narrator
Amedeo Turturro
as Young Richie Tenenbaum
Stephen Lea Sheppard
as Dudley Heinsbergen
James Fitzgerald
as Young Eli Cash
Larry Pine
as Peter Bradley
Don McKinnon
as Detective
Frank Wood
as Hotel Manager
Al Thompson
as Walter Sherman
Jennifer Wachtell
as Rachael Tenenbaum
Donal Ward
as Hotel Clerk
Andrew Wilson
as Farmer Father / Tex Hayward
Sanjay Matthew
as Sanjay Gandhi
Mary Wigmore
as Chas' Secretary
Sonam Wangmo
as Sing-Sang
Pawel Wdowczak
as Neville Smythe-Dorleac
Peter Leung
as Yasuo Oshima
William Sturgis
as Franklin Benedict
Liam Craig
as Reporter in Blue Cardigan
Max Faugno
as Cote d'Ivoire Attendant
Guido Venitucci
as Cote d'Ivoire Radio Operator
Ebon Moss-Bachrach
as Frederick -- Bellboy
Brian Smiar
as Elderly `Baumer' Fan No. 1
Jan V.E. Austell
as Elderly `Baumer' Fan No. 2
Rony Clanton
as Cemetery Maintenance Man
Tom Lacy
as Judge
Keith Charles
as Royal's Lawyer
Greg Goosen
as Gypsy Cab Driver
Vic Mata
as Sanchez
Michael J. Conti
as Irish Longshoreman
Tatiana Abbey
as Parisian Girl
Kalani Queypo
as New Guinea Tribesman
Mel Cannon
as Punk Rocker
Leo Manuelian
as Eli's Egyptian Friend
Amir Raissi
as Eli's Egyptian Friend
Roger Shamas
as Eli's Egyptian Friend
Philip Denning
as Father Petersen
Gary Evans
as Police Officer
Rex Robbins
as Mr. Levinson
Nova Landaeus-Skinnar
as Elaine Levinson
Sam Hoffman
as Paramedic
Brian Tenenbaum
as Paramedic
Stephan Dignan
as Paramedic
Eric Chase Anderson
as Medical Student
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News & Interviews for The Royal Tenenbaums

Critic Reviews for The Royal Tenenbaums

All Critics (206) | Top Critics (50) | Fresh (165) | Rotten (41)

  • 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.

    Oct 1, 2014 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • The film manages to be both sarcastic and sentimental. As odd as the Tenenbaums are, the family remains bound by love.

    Oct 1, 2014 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Oct 1, 2014 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Mar 4, 2014 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Mar 4, 2014 | Full Review…
  • Wes Anderson is an authentic original -- an eccentric and heretical talent.

    Mar 4, 2014 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Royal Tenenbaums

  • May 02, 2016
    A family portrait both melancholic and anarchic, the meticulous brushstrokes on display in writer-director Wes Anderson's Royal Tenenbaums present an auteur at the top of his game and the most entertaining and heartfelt filmic example yet of that old cinema chestnut: having one dysfunctional family under one roof for one last time. As a film reviewer, there's always a deep-seeded debate within one's psyche to concede that a particular filmmaker has made a better film than your personal favorite. For example, Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown still makes an astounding personal connection that this reviewer can only partly explain, the sometimes comedic '70s throwback caper having become this critic's go-to QT flick...even though Pulp Fiction and Inglourious Basterds remain, from top to bottom, more powerful, better directed, and better written notches on the writer-director's CV. Also, Steven Soderbergh won over the consensus of critics with Sex Lies and Videotape, won over the consensus of the Academy with Traffic, and won over the consensus of filmgoers with Ocean Eleven, but super slick and sexy slice of noir Out of Sight is the only Soderbergh film to chart on this reviewer's Top 10 list. The same dilemma rears its head with Anderson. Sure, he has made smarter comedies (the coming-of-age riotous-of-passage Rushmore), all-around better films (the decades-spanning sometime dramedy The Grand Budapest Hotel), more ambitious star-studded experiments (the stop motion-animated adult cartoon The Fantastic Mr. Fox), and even a more depressive family coming together (tear-soaked road comedy Darjeeling Limited), but notice that his Royal effort proves to be a convergence of all of these oft-kilter tropes and it all works so brilliantly. Everything - from the screenplay, set design, casting, soundtrack, and locations - serve as an integral cog in the world-building wheel of this fantastic and, at the time, funereal story about the undying bonds of family. Even beset with terminal cynicism and sarcasm, the idiosyncrasy-filled miscreants falling from the Tenenbaum family tree ultimately don't fail each other despite overwhelming odds and inklings. In this R-rated comedy, an estranged family of former child prodigies reunites when their father announces he is terminally ill. TBS's Conan produced a spoof of Anderson's work that presents a Star Wars audition reel as if it had been written and directed by the man himself. Han Solo becomes a card-carrying member of an eccentric club who makes precocious-sounding lists with bullet points like "Kill Greedo" and rides along in the sidecar of a motorcycle driven by Chewbacca--all soundtracked by Barouche string-plucking that sounds right out of Mark Mothersbaugh's (W.A.'s longtime composer) playbook. It nails Anderson's quirky trademarks perfectly. Ironically, The Royal Tenenbaums - though it boasts many of the same Andersonian tropes as its predecessor, Rushmore - didn't make the auteur parody-worthy at the time. No, that honor fell on the follow-up, the oftentimes surrealistic but always indulgent The Life Aquatic starring Steve Zissou. Before Life Aquatic, all of the writer-director's films worked so well because, even though they immersed you in his very eccentric world, they always kept one foot in reality. Though very watchable, Life Aquatic keeps its head in the clouds (or under the sea, in this case) and never once attempts to get a reality check. On the other hand, Tenenbaums maintains this balance exceptionally well. Sure, it's hard to relate to the prodigies in question on the exterior of things (having an affair with an adopted sister seems bonkers), but their inner turmoil hits home again and again (the need to be loved and fear of exclusion drove the couple to it). Letter-perfect casting, of course, is the crucial element. From the titular Royal (Tenebaums rivals even The French Connection so far as Gene Hackman's best performance) to an old stand-by in a supporting role (Bill Murray as a cuckolded doctor gives a deadpan masterclass). The synergy that Anderson created here was so in-synch that it took 13 years to equal this triumph so far as world-building to complete perfection. Anderson's personal best, The Grand Budapest Hotel actually dealt with royalty. The Tenenbaums, however, remains purely Royal despite no claims on aristocracy. Bottom line: Family Valued
    Jeff B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 11, 2015
    One of Wes Anderson's older films is also one of his strongest. The Tenenbaum family begins with a promising future and eventually descends into separation and dysfunction. The cast is well rounded as a whole, with Gene Hackman, Gwenyth Paltrow, and Luke Wilson (in one of his strongest roles I've seen so far) striving in particular excellence. Accompanied by a great soundtrack, Wes Anderson's signature style is prominent here. The vibe of what seems to be a highly stylized New York is one of the many factors that will make The Royal Tenenbaums a particularly memorably film. It addresses the idea of families who are out of touch are often brought back together via tragedy, which can, in the end, make them stronger than ever.
    Kevin M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 09, 2014
    The Royal Tenenbaums offers up a likable cast of well-cast misfits and places them in enough outlandish situations to make up for the film's lack of cohesiveness.
    Isaac H Super Reviewer
  • Mar 22, 2014
    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.
    Alex r Super Reviewer

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