Thursday, October 18, 2007
Well, sweetie, don't get mad at me. That's just one man's opinion.
I recently had an email exchange with a friend, regarding "The Royal Tenenbaums". Here is (basically) what I wrote:
I love The Royal Tenenbaums and watch it pretty regularly. I don't find the soundtrack to be "wall to wall hipster favorites" (as one reviewer claims). John Lennon, Bob Dylan and Nico aren't quite "hipster" musicians. Yes, the music is pretty omnipresent, but that's part of Anderson's style.
As far as the "lack of genuine emotion" in the movie, I guess that's a matter of perception. I cry pretty much every time I watch this movie, and not at the same point every time. Maybe that makes me a sentimental wuss, I don't know. I thought the movie packed a genuine emotional punch regarding themes of distant fathers, reconciliation, sibling relationships, and the confusing nature of romantic love.
The enjoyable quirkiness, memorable lines, fully developed characters, brilliant cinematography and scrupulous set design are intriguing, and I find new bits to enjoy with each viewing. As with all of Anderson's films, I find that I enjoy and appreciate them more after 2 or more viewings. Yes, the movie is slightly off-kilter and not quite reality, but that's kind of the point. It's a bit like a fairy tail, hence the narration and chapters into which the film is divided. It's Wes Anderson's version of life, wherein nearly everything is symmetrical, most conversations are filled with verbal idiosyncrasies, and people say hilarious stuff without laughing.
Anderson's latest film (The Darjeeling Limited) is also great, but is very much like all of his films: lots of little details, emotionally wounded characters, funny/awkward conversations, etc. It's gotten mostly good reviews, but the bad reviews of it that I've read have said basically either "has too much emotion and not enough plot" OR "has too much stuff but not enough emotion." So, I guess it depends on one's point of view.
I'm sure you know the site, but for a round-up of professional criticism, I peruse Rotten Tomatoes: This links to the review of The Royal Tenenbaums, which has an 80% rating on the site, which is a pretty solid recommendation from the 160+ reviewers.
I mean, I guess you don't have to like it, after all, Wildcat was written in a kind of obsolete vernacular.
editor's note: Updated with photo below!