In Dan in Real Life Steve Carell leaves behind his comedic personae to once again play a melancholic 40-something type character, as he so brilliantly did in Little Miss Sunshine. This time Carell is Dan, a widower with three daughters, who while on a family weekend meets Marie (Juliette Binoche), falls madly for her and then discovers she is his brother’s new girlfriend.
The Royal Tenenbaums is independent director Wes Anderson’s (Bottle Rocket, Rushmore) finest work yet, with its finely tuned humour and complex characterisations that the audience can feel real empathy for. The all-star cast are uniformly excellent, in particular Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, and surprisingly Gwyneth Paltrow, who play the Tenenbaum siblings. Once all over-achievers they are now all in their 30s with many demons to face. Gene Hackman is a standout as the absent father whose attempts of reconciliation with his family are constantly ruined by his intrinsic selfishness.