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The Royal Tenenbaums Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 60

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Absurdist, but also condescending and self-infatuated; The Royal Tenenbaums is at least three times too clever for its own good.

  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    The film grows on you, but more substance and less calculated quirks would have been a royal treat.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Exists on a knife edge between comedy and sadness. There are big laughs, and then quiet moments when we're touched.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Mark Caro

    More flat-out funny than "Rushmore," but in neither film is the humor joke-based. What you're laughing at is the behavior of characters who are so fixed in their idiosyncratic worldviews that they can't help but careen into each other like out-of-control bumper cars.

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  • 90

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Frank Scheck

    Along with his writing partner, actor Owen Wilson, who also plays (hilariously) a supporting role in the film, Anderson reveals himself to be a highly original comic talent, impressive both for his strongly controlled deadpan style and for providing a sense of emotional heft lacking in most mainstream film comedies.

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  • See all The Royal Tenenbaums reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 15 & under

Quirky extended-family story with dry adult humor.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has very mature material including a graphic and bloody suicide attempt, sexual references and situations (adultery and a possible romance between adopted siblings), and painful issues of betrayal and deception. There are references to a tragic death. An adopted child is made to feel like an outsider. A character has a serious drug abuse problem. Some people may find the light-hearted treatment of these issues offensive and kids will probably miss the dry humor completely.

  • Families can talk about whether this wild exaggeration of family communication problems can be of help to families who are struggling to connect to each other. How can parents stimulate and support gifted children without making them feel isolated from friends and family?
  • Eli says to Royal "I always wanted to be a Tenenbaum," and Royalresponds, "So did I." What does that mean?
  • Why did such accomplishedchildren become such fragile adults?
  • Why did Chas react to his wife'sdeath by becoming obsessed with safety?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: A portrait of a very dysfunctional extended family, but it shows they care about each other deeply as well. The three Tenenbaum children are pushed to succeed at an early age and suffer in adulthood because of it.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Royal lies about having a terminal illness in order to see his family. Margot, Richie, and Chas are self-destructive. However, the family is still supportive of one another in their own way.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: Graphic and bloody attempted suicide. One character loses a finger. A dog gets hit by a car. One friend stabs another. The death of a spouse/mother in a plane crash is mentioned.

  • sex false4

    Sex: Sexual references, including adultery and technical incest (adopted siblings). A picture of a nude woman is shown. A woman grabs another woman's bare breast in a brief flashback scene showing Margot's past love affairs. Kissing.

  • language false3

    Language: "F--k," "s--t," and everything in between.

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: Fast food takeout, Gypsy Cab Co.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Characters drink and smoke. One character is addicted to drugs and drives recklessly while high, another has been smoking secretly since she was a tween.