Important Events

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Opening Sequence

What does the director achieve? Evidence

  • 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.
  • In the opening scenes Margot is shown to be mysterious. This is portrayed through a shadow created on her face, her body language hunched over and hair over her face. We learn that she is unsure about her place in the Tenenbaum family as shes asks when Royal is telling the children of his dovorce, 'Was it our fault?' Royal also makes her unconfident about her place in the family when he always introduces her as his 'adopted daughter.' She also does not open up to people which is symbolised by the 5 locks on her bedroom door. When she is introduced in the film she is smoking, getting her hair and a manicure done and reading a play. A symbol we relate to Margot is zebras, which are shown on her wallpaper. In her play at her 11th Birthday she plays a Zebra in the play she has written which gets shot, and this corresponds with her metaphorically getting shot when Royal says the play "wasn't believable.' 
  • Richie Tenenbaum is the first character we see in the film, framed by his bedroom window (like a bird in a cage). In the opening scenes the director communicates to the audience his love for Margot from an early age. For example it shows us the paintings he'd done, all of Margot -"but he failed to develop as a painter".

  • The house is a labyrinth showing that the Tenenbaum family is seperate and alone, this is backed up with a long shot of Richie on his own in a window. Each child also has their bedroom on a seperate floor. Fairytale motifs are also used within the house shown by a flag at the very top of the house with a 'T' on it. 

  • Between the 3 children- The 'activities' board shows each child in a seperate square taking part in seperate activities. It is a formal business like family. 'Almost all memory of the brilliance of the Tenenbaum children had been erased by two decades of betrayal, failure and disaster.' This quote shows that although the children were in geniuses in their own area their lives and morals had been wreaked by Royals behaviours. 
  • Like the setting, the family is distanced and disfunctional. E.g All the bedrooms are on different floors, they all have different hobbies.
Important Ideas

  • Fairtale Motifs- Use of Royal and symmertrcal shot shows characters importance. The film is also told in a story of chapters. The house is like that of a castle with a flag emphasising this. The familiar landscape of Manhattan is not quite real showing a fairytale like seeting. These fairytale motifs bring forward the idea that the film is designed to educate people about the dangers that exist in the world (e.g. family relationships) just as a fairytale educates children about the dangers in the world.

Closing Sequence

What links between opening and closing sequence?

  • Chas, Ari and Uzi are wearing black tracksuits at the end, which shows that they have accepted Royal into their lives and are mourning his loss.