The Royal Tenenbaums is a beatiful movie that is very full of life and graced with poetic characters. The story has been described by many people, so I will just say that this is one of those movies where the story dosen't really matter because you are so enamored by the characters. This movie is basically a character study but with a whole family and their various friends, children, and spouses. Everything about the set, the costumes, and the way the actors portray their characters is fairy tale like and almost seems like a metaphor for something more ordinary, but is just beautiful and filled with tiny details that draw you into their world with an open heart.
The movie is wonderfully written and acted, although some people may not get the humor or may be expecting easy laughs, so they will not really "get" or enjoy the movie because they don't know what to think. For the most part, this movie does not dictate to the audience what is funny about it, and it does not dictate who to like and what to think about the film. This leaves some less patient audience members feeling unsatisfied and like they have missed something, which they have. Many people I know who have seen this movie are expecting Ben Stiller ala There's Something About Mary, or Bill Murray ala Ghostbusters, but this is not the usual "popular comedy" sort of performance these actors give in this movie. Bill Murray says nothing directly funny at all, he just mopes around with a beard and a patient named Dudley, which is only funny if you take his character as a whole and stop to notice the subtle humor in his character and how he reacts to what goes on. It is the same for all the characters. Overall, I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone who will appreciate a quirky, complex, understated dramedy, because the experience will stay with you for a long time.