From WikiEducator
Jump to: navigation, search

Main characters

Name: Description:
Key relationships:
Symbols associated with them:
Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman) In the opening scenes Royal comes across as being quite self consumed and not very understanding of anyone else’s feelings except his own. This is illustrated to views clearing in the early scene when Royal is telling his children that himself and their mother are getting separated. In this scene Royal shows no compassion to his children who are obviously about to experience a life-changing stage of their life. The icing on the cake in this scene is when Pagonda hands Royal a cocktail- while he is still having this conversation with his children. To audience, this is so inappropriate, so much so, that it is almost humorous.
Royal has little relationship with most of the family. He is probably the closest to Richie- we see the two watching a dog fight together (a situation that shows them some what “bonding”.) Royals relationship with Margot is pretty non-existent, whenever Royal introduces Margot she is always referred to as his “adopted daughter” and never just his daughter. We can tell that this experience has have some effect of Margot as an individual and has made her feel like she has never been an proper Tenenbaum.
The most important theme explored by Royal’s character is the idea of redemption and begs viewers to ask the question of whether someone can really be forgiven after being the reason for let down after let down, time and time again. The change in his character symbolises the idea of redemption. 
Etheline Tenenbaum (Anjelica Huston) Etheline Tenenbaum is the mother of the three Tenenbaum children whose education is her highest priority. This is enforced in the opening scenes where we see her on the phone re-booking italian classes for them. She also has a chalk board behind her with an assortment of classes and extra curricular activities for each of the children.  Although they never officially got divorced, Etheline Tenenbaum split from her husband Royal when, we assume, he had an affair. Now engaged to Henry Sherman who is the complete opposite in demeanor and personality to Royal.
Chas Tenenbaum (Ben Stiller) We are introduced to Chas at the start of the film and he comes across as being very grown up and in some respects a replica of his father, Royal. The business first attitude and formal dress from the onset of the film link these two characters. Chas seems to be very work focused- Wes Anderson is using Chas as a representation of a person in the real world who uses their work as an excuse to hide from the problems that the real world throws at them. The oldest Tenenbaum child. invented Dalmatian mice and sold them to Tokyo pet shops. His wife died in a plane crash. He likes to have everything uniform, predictable and dependable. He wants to be a better father to his kids than his father was to him.
Chas’s relationship with the other Tenenbaums takes a back seat after the death of his wife and the mother of his two children. It is obvious that this huge event has a big effect of Chas and the way that he decides to raise his children and the relationship that his kids have with his family. Chas tries to keep Ari and Uzi quite separate from the Tenenbaums at the start of the film in hopes to protected from any emotional pain that they could face as a result of being let down by the Tenenbaums (like Chas had been as a child).
Props:- associated with taking on chances and being safe.
- Fire extinguisher
-hurricane light
Chas moves to the Tenenbaum house which is less safe than his own home- he actuallay just wants t be safe at home with his mother.

- represent the idea of Chas being uniform, predicable and dependable and being the father that he want for his childen. ie: the opposite of Royal

Margot Tenenbaum (Gwyneth Paltrow) Adopted into the Tenenbaum Family at age 2. As she was always presented to the public as the adopted daughter she always questioned her place in the family. Has become to be a mysterious figure and play writer. Has been secretly smoking since the age of 12.
Secretly in love with Ritchie Tenenbaum. Married to Raulie St. Clair
Her Brown fur coat and her secret stash of cigarettes.
Richie Tenenbaum (Luke Wilson)
Richie is the sports one of the family as he has been a tennis player since he was little. Until he gives up – he has a breakdown because Margot is in the crowd. He leaves on a boat to get away from Margot as he is secretly in love with her and she got married. He is fixated on Margot and so he leaves to run away from his feelings.

He doesn’t seem to have any good relationships. He is in love with Margot but she doesn’t know as he doesn’t tell her. He always had a better relationship with his father than his brothers because his dad took him out to dog fights but the invitation was never extended to his brothers.

Some symbols associated with Richie are in the beginning of the film he sets his hawk free. This seems to symbolise that he wants to be set free of his feelings for Margot and the relationship problems his family has. He still wears his headband from when he used to play tennis, and the clothes he used to wear when he was a child symbolising that he didn’t want to let his childhood go possibly because he wasn’t happy with how it turned out.
Eli Cash (Owen Wilson) Eli Cash is the three children’s best friend. He spends a lot of time with them. Eli feels like he wants to be a part of the Tenenbaum family even though they have major issues within the family he wants to be a part of it. He develops a drug problem as he grows up and the brothers attempt to intervene.
Eli has a reasonably strong relationship with Chas and the other brothers. He gets along well with them. Even when he is really having problems with drugs the brothers stick by him and try to help. Until he runs over and kills Chas’ kids dog and nearly kill the kids and Chas has a break down.


How does Wes Anderson use the following techniques in order to develop character? Use specific examples to support your points.


Chas's costume: Matching tracksuits with his two sons. This had the effect of protraying him to be uniform, predictable and a dependable father.

Soundtrack (includes everything you can hear):

Camera shots:

Character action:

Richie lets Mordechai free. This symbolises that there is going to be some sort of change or new begining with Richie and the rest of the Tenenbaums.






Minor Characters

  • Henry Sherman (Danny Glover)
  • Raleigh St. Clair (Bill Murray)
  • Ari & Uzi Tenenbaum
  • Pagoda (Kumar Pallana)
  • Dusty (Seymour Cassel)
  • The narrator of the story is Alec Baldwin.