The Royal Tenenbaums is a film completely centered around family, therefore the concept of family is obviously important to both the plot and deeper meanings brought on by the film itself. Wes Anderson has a tendency to bring up family issues in his films, such as the lack of a fatherly figure present in the upbringing of children. Children are usually dependent on their parents as they are raised, but having no father to rely on and to encourage them is sure to spark up a bit of a problem in the life of a child.
In the film, Royal and Etheline split up, become seperated, and the Tenenbaum children usually never see much of their father. Royal would only take Richie out to places, and would leave Chas and Margot at home. Margot once invited her father to her birthday to see a production of one of her plays, but he was never invited back after his unnecessary, harsh review. Events as such usually left Margot and Chas feeling left out, as if they had no father at all. Royal would even introduce Margot as his “adopted daughter”, as if he wanted nothing more than to make a point of such.
The Tenenbaums are an unusual, upper-class family living in New York City, that vary greatly from other families in society. The lack of a father figure in the lives of the children cause them to mature in unusual ways which impacts their ability to function as members of society. As adults, each child has an incredible amount of unhappiness in their lives because of the stress that their absent father inherently placed on them in their childhood.