The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

Film Studies

Cinema Classics Seminar:
The Royal Tenenbaums

We Love Wes Anderson
Wednesday, July 26, 2023, 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm  
Instructor: Paul Wright, Ph.D., Instructor, BMFI

If there is a term most consistently applied to Wes Anderson’s body of work—glowingly or pejoratively—it might be “whimsy.” It’s a curious descriptor for a filmmaker who tackles such deeply serious themes, albeit with playfulness and an arch sense of the absurd threads that knit people together. On paper, one might not find much whimsy in Anderson’s subjects, which range from heists and mental illness (Bottle Rocket) to adolescent alienation (Rushmore), sibling estrangement (The Darjeeling Limited), and the rise of fascism (The Grand Budapest Hotel).

His third film, The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), blends postmodern irony with a deeply felt tale of a broken family unable to fully mend. Led by Gene Hackman, the cast anchors a multigenerational family dramedy with an equally multigenerational ensemble, with then-rising stars like Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, and Gwyneth Paltrow matched by vets like Anjelica Huston, Danny Glover, and Bill Murray. The Royal Tenenbaums deploys Anderson’s signature style to demonstrate Tolstoy’s famous assertion that “all happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Framed as a Salinger-esque novel of family dysfunction, The Royal Tenenbaums remains as delightful—and as serious—as ever, at once a curio, time capsule, and a meditation on that most fragile of social contracts, the extended, blended family.

Are you interested in “just” seeing this movie? Visit the public screening page here.

Cinema Classics Seminars offer an entertaining and engaging way to learn more about some of the true classics of world cinema. All students receive an introductory lecture before the film and a guided discussion after the film. In addition, those in attendance receive a ticket to see it on the big screen, as well as popcorn and a drink. Please note: the screening associated with this seminar will be open to the public, as well.

Please email BMFI Programs and Education Coordinator Jill Malcolm with any questions.


Course Information

$25 for members, $35 for non-members


  • Wednesday, July 26 · 6:30 pm

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