Movie of the Week: The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

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Wes Anderson directs Gene Hackman, Gwyneth Paltrow and Owen Wilson in this stylised comedy drama about a family of child geniuses who are now damaged adults and their distant, gruff patriarch who fakes cancer to reconnect with them / not divorce their mother. 

A perfect film (though not quite as out and out fun as its predecessor Rushmore) that is intricately assembled in look, emotion, humour and detail with a watchmaker’s precision. A very stylish watchmaker. Anderson got caught in the trap of trying to repeat too closely what worked here a little too often afterwards but that does not diminish the calvalcade of fine movie moments this marches at us. So much to love: Alec Baldwin’s Barry Lyndon inspired narration, the vinyl celebration of a soundtrack, a toweringly charming beast of a central performance from Hackman, the sole decent turn from Paltrow in her career, or the deeply cutting moments that resonate, hidden among the twee visuals and soft antics. Movie heaven.

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