If I Could Get Away With It: Movie Edition | The Royal Tennenbaums


Wes Anderson. Le Sigh. Here’s the trailer.

When this movie came out I was a freshman in high school and I fell in love. This movie is whimsical and quirky and my teenage brain didn’t understand how the story worked but I knew that it just did. And I knew that it was brilliant. And because of this film, I have seen every Wes Anderson movie (although… outside of the aesthetics, I don’t think that I’m a fan).

The Tennenbaums are extraordinary. And they have been since they were children. One is an actress, one is a tennis player, and one is a mogul. They are all famous. They reunite after 20 years because their father claims he’s dying, and just like any catalyst to a story, it sets off the domino effect that changes the course of their lives.

If I could get away with teaching this movie, I would use it to teach characterization and style. Every single character in this movie is three dimensional, every character has motivation. We would start of the unit with a note taker and the kids would be responsible for noticing characteristics. In addition, we would discuss how Wes Anderson’s style aids in that characterization. What does it mean when he frames Margo’s face center screen as she gets her hair done and smokes a cigarette? What does seeing their childhood toys (in frame with no characters) tell us about them? Why is the everything so pink? After lots of discussion and deciding what it all means, I would have the students write an analysis essay or some other activity that would access their analysis. Because visual media is a lot easier to break apart than writing, this would be a good jumping off point for deeper analysis.

But alas…

I can’t get away with teaching this movie because:

  • profanity

  • nudity

  • drugs

  • sexual content

  • sensitive subjects

  • quasi incest

  • mild violence

Here is the link to the movie.

Again… <le sigh>

Happy Teaching!