The Royal Tenenbaums, along with every Wes Anderson film, falls into the category of being on the list of “I’m going to buy it, and then buy it again when then Criterion comes out.” I watched my Criterion Collection DVD with pride and loved reentering Anderson’s fully immersive world. I’ve seen this film so many times that I can quote it throughout, but also sit in silent awe. I shout, “you sonofabitch!” I murmur, “she smokes.” I cheer, cry, and sing Elliott Smith.
It is simply a damn good film. The book cites it as “an extremely satisfying hybrid that is far too funny to be wholly tragic and far too glib to be profound,” but in many ways this review seems to not have the foresight that all of Anderson’s films are profound. Everything is. It says more about us than it does the characters, and does it in a way that is removed from reality just by a couple of clicks of fantasy and hyper-reality. That is something that Anderson is a master of, and it is simply a beautiful thing.
The thing about this film when I saw it in the theater and found myself crying my eyes out at the end is that it reminds me of myself in a lot of ways (I have always felt like I am a combination of Margot mostly and Richie a little) in terms of things that I see as great things about me and things that I am perpetually working on… But most notably, I felt like it was a terrifying and depressing document of my own relationship with my father. In watching it, every single time I am heartbroken at the vast complexity of human relationships and how much they make absolutely no sense at all most of the time. Love is love, and nothing can be done about it. Mortality is mortality, and what are you going to do when it is your time? How can one constantly refresh one’s own expectations of oneself when one doesn’t tend to change?
But this film is so damn touching and funny and real… And in the face of it being so absolutely fictional, it is a testament to how well it was written that one can say it was incredibly real and reminded them so much of real life. It is hyperbole, and it is through this hyperbole that truer things cannot be said than the magnified version presented in this, one of my favorite movies of all time.
Also, I am not sure why this video exists, but I think I love it.