FT Top 100 Films

What do I like about the Royal Tenenbaums? There is only one thing I really, really like about it (there are lots of little things I like a bit about it but I must admit the whole thing did not overwhelm me). What I like about the Royal Tenenbaums is the font.

For some reason, Wes Anderson, has decided to use predominantly one font in the movie. It is rounded, sans serif and very similar to the font that Ed Ruscha settled on in the late sixties for about three hundred of his “word paintings”. The liberal appliction of this font signals that we are in Anderson’s world, that his rules apply. It is a lovely, designerly way of doing this, and successfully helps slip you into twee whimsy mode.

My problem is that twee whimsy mode is not altogether that interesting for me. This is not a film about dysfunctional families, nor is a film about the stress of being a child prodigy. It is about this family, these prodigies, in this Wes Anderson world which – unlike Rushmore – seems totally isolated from any outside world. The characters prance and gavotte for our amusement, and I was amused. But there was never really a point I gave a fuck.

Except for the font. The font, especially on the Hospital, suggested there might be a better world, a better designed world, where nothing would hurt – ever. Because I wouldn’t give a fuck. Cinematic prozac.