Where the Wild Things Are (PG) - 2009 - Runtime: 94 minutes
Starring: Max Records, Catherine Keener, James Gandolfini
Director: Spike Jonze
This movie really wasn't what I was expecting. Although that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it tremendously or think it's a terrible movie. In fact, it's one of the most raw and emotional kids movies I've seen in quite some time. It's just so different.
I guess I was expecting an adventure story - which thankfully, this is not. If it had ended up becoming some Spy Kids-esque action movie, I think my stomach would have turned. Instead, this movie doesn't pull any punches as far as treating kids' emotions and feelings as carefully as any adults'. This film really does justice to the rollercoaster ride that is childhood. I loved every minute of this movie.
If you don't know already the movie is based very, very loosely on Maurice Sendak's classic children's picture book and it is every bit deserved to be considered a classic just like the book. Spike Jonze took the essence of the book - the wild and crazy thrill of being a kid and their imagination along with the selfish, lonely aspects of being a kid - and ran with it. Max is a younger sibling and troubled son to a single mom, who is struggling to keep a semblance of a family while trying to manage a relationship with another man. This isn't told at all, but shown in the movie. It's a very quiet movie, in that we're seeing things all through Max's perspective, so we get our information through Max. After enjoying throwing some snowballs at his older sister's friends, he gets hurt when they attack him and crush his little igloo he had made with him in it. After so much excitement, he lashes out at his sister, tearing her room apart. And later we see him yelling "Feed me woman!" to his mom. He's not exactly a model son, and soon runs away after biting his mom where he finds a sailboat to take him to a mysterious island. Full of wild things. And it's a fun and honest to goodness, scary place. He declares himself king before being eaten by these giant animals. And they soon bond, but there's cracks in each relationship between Max and the other animals. It's a complicated story (for a kid's movie) and I'm not quite sure which wild thing ties to his real family and friends back home. It's something worth watching again to watch for and notice all the subtle metaphors.
This is a raw and emotional film from beginning to end and something magical - the soundtrack from Karen O. of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs only cements this movie as an instant classic in my mind. It's worth repeat viewings and I highly suggest checking this one out!
Rating: See It!