The Big Lebowski Film Analysis

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The brothers Joel and Ethan Coen and Wes Anderson are known for their distinctive visual and thematic styles of film making. Although their respective films The Big Lebowski and The Royal Tenenbaums both have a unique style all their own they do share a theme. This shared narrative motif is a nostalgic yearning for, or perhaps even obsession, with the past.
In The Big Lebowski this obsession with the past can be seen at the very beginning of the film as we follow a tumbling tumbleweed, an iconic symbol of the old west, as it tumbles through the California desert. An old Gene Autry song evokes nostalgic memories of old westerns as we hear a voice over from narrator Sam Elliot, known as the Stranger, which in tone and word choice is very reminiscent
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The settings themselves from the old mansion, to the Dudes old style bungalow, and the neon festooned bowling alley. Even the Dudes drug fueled dream is not a modern set piece or even a sixties number as you might expect, but instead is a 1930s Busby Berkeley inspired dance number. Perhaps the most direct example of this love of the past is the 1940s film noir aspects of the movie shown with the use of dark lighting, the urban setting, and the story itself.
Although The Big Lebowski has many aspects of this love of the past in The Royal Tenenbaums it’s one of the central themes of the film. Although the main theme of the movie is the bringing together of a dysfunctional family it is shown throughout the movie that much of that dysfunction comes from the main characters longing for a return to the glory days of their youth when they were considered geniuses.
This obsession with their past is seen most expressly in the hairstyles and clothing worn by the Tenenbaum children. Margot and Richie wear the same clothing they did as kids and have the same exact hair styles they had as children. Even though Chas changes his clothing from a suit and tie as a child to a red track suit as an adult it still has an out of its time vibe to

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