I’m on the record as being among the rare cinephiles who find Wes Anderson’s style too twee, his films too ineffectual, to really hit as intended. So, it speaks to just how excellent The Royal Tenenbaums is that I not only can abide by Wes Anderson’s sensibility for the length of it but actually enjoy it.
If I can’t appreciate The Royal Tenenbaums as the masterpiece that so many describe it as I attribute it to that. I can’t speak precisely to what it is about Anderson’s style that doesn’t work for me beyond it being overly twee and stylized, and I really do wish that I got as excited for his films as others do. There’s certainly something to be appreciated about a director with such a unique and distinctive fashion, with precise tics and ideas that stand out, that can be parodied, even as those tics are also somewhat limiting. I can’t get into Wes Anderson for very much the same reason that some people just can’t get into Quentin Tarantino, or Tim Burton.
Still, the incredible ensemble cast assembled in The Royal Tenenbaums (as in many of Anderson’s films) offers enough to appreciate even beyond whatever issues I may have. Seeing a legend like Gene Hackman, in one of his final film appearances, seeing an actress like Gwyneth Paltrow channeling a creative energy she often doesn’t use, having actors like the Wilson brothers and Ben Stiller at their most muted and subdued, very much to the benefit of their roles, all told there’s a lot to see here.
Ultimately, there’s a stunning level of craftsmanship and creativity to everything Anderson does, and I can appreciate that. There may be no filmmaker with a more unique sensibility and style than Wes Anderson, and even despite my issues with him, I find it’s worth seeing his movies every so often to appreciate the voice of an artist who doesn’t attempt to qualify or filter his sensibility for any reason.