Harry calls WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE the best film he's seen this year!
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE is the very best film I’ve seen this year. Not by a hair, not by a nose, but by a mile. More than that, it could very well be the best film ever created about what it is like to be a 9 year old.
Do you remember?
9 years old.
How did you play? How did you move? Do you remember the angles that you saw the world from? Did you ever start something that felt like the most fun thing in the world, until it wound up in tears. Your tears?
Do you remember how WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE spoke to you as a 9 year old?
When imagination was effortless? A reflex. A product of a wandering second and a blink of an eye? You were still young enough to leap without tensing up and you knew that your bones were strong, because you drank your milk. When you had the power to answer any question with imagination, rather than knowledge. Because you were a kid.
Now. Do you remember laying at your parents feet as they had a difficult phone call, but you still don’t remember what it was all about, but you felt afraid? And you knew a hug or a story could make it better?
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE will remind you of all these moments, but more… it will conjure up primal childhood emotions of joy, regret, elation, confusion and you may realize that you’ve lost an awful lot, by simply growing up.
Spike Jonze’s WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE is a staggeringly brilliant encapsulation of the intent and contents of Sendak’s book, but more so… of childhood itself. The result is a film of immense and unquestionable power that has the power to shake you more than any of you are really expecting.
At a private moment, mere minutes after the screening, I found myself blubbering. I had no idea it was coming. It wasn’t just the movie. It was what the movie did to me. What it opened up. It made me remember the way I looked at my mother when I was 9 years old. When she was awesome. Before the divorce, the alcoholism and her tarnished image. It made me wish I could go back and spend time with that version of my mom. Introduce my wife to her. It made me miss her. And I haven’t missed her in years.
At the same time, it made me wish I could play the way I played at that age. It made me want to see the world without all the complications and the basic everyday realities of being a grown up!
Spike Jonze did not merely find the perfect Max in young Max Records, he found a way to capture everything that is so wonderful about Max Records and MAX from the book. He captured what it was to be a Boy at age 9.
The entire film is from Max’s perspective. As an adult, you may think a bit from Catherine Keener’s wonderfully at wit’s end mother, but this is a film 100% about Max. There are things that make sense on a purely child’s level of logic. The camera sees things from kid angles and with kid awe.
The opening scene… is the single most FURIOUS and VIOLENT thing I’ve ever seen captured on film. And it was just a hand held camera shot following, some how, Max Records as he dives down stairs after the household dog in his Wolf suit and it hits you completely off guard. Why? Because you absolutely will not believe how amazing it is – to track a 9 year old in full blown wild Indian mode. It is amazing. And it is literally, just the beginning.
I haven’t spoken about the MONSTERS yet, because frankly – as amazing as they are. As wonderful as every performance, every nuance of their expressions, and their every line are… they all serve to further illustrate the mind of an angry, frustrated and alone boy named MAX.
Now. Should you take the kids to see WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE?
That depends. Honestly, I wouldn’t take a kid under the age of 7. Even then, you need to realize that you’re gonna need to be an awesome parent, when you take your kid. This is a brilliant movie. One that conjures a lot of emotions, your child will feel every last one and you should be there to answer any questions, to hug and to experience the film with them. AND if any of this makes you nervous. See the film first and make the call about whether or not your kid is ready for this.
For many audiences, this will be a difficult film. This isn’t an obvious version of WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE. In a world where we’ve seen films like Ron Howard’s GRINCH and that abysmal CAT IN THE HAT adaptation – there’s a possibility that kids and many audiences are numb to a genuine and beautiful film about the very tough and difficult realities of childhood.
Being a parent is not ever an easy thing. This is very much a film about a point where the parent and the kid are at completely different states of consciousness – Mom is exasperated, frustrated, angry and exhausted by Max. Max doesn’t know why he acts as he does, he’s got problems that he doesn’t know how to express. He hasn’t read the books that have taught him how to relate to how he’s feeling about Mom’s new boyfriend – and a supper that he doesn’t want. He retreats into PLAY MODE, IMAGINATIONLAND and Mom… she doesn’t understand what’s going on with Max because Max doesn’t know how to express it.
This is a children’s film, like TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is a kids film. And TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is a great kids movie. One, that every parent should watch with their kid. WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE could be an incredible film for you and your child. It could help you to understand & remember what it means to be a child. Not to look down at them, but to admire them. Because we were all there at some point. We were all WILD THINGS once and this movie will make you wish you could be again!
I saw this film with my best friend, 20 days ago. He LOVED it, and he tends to be a hardened tough guy that likes “gun cleaning movies”. You know the films. With this, he was affected, strongly and personally by the film. Totally different reasons than me, but afterwards we talked a lot about what it was like 28 years ago, when we were MAX and the way we played.
This is the most authentic & brilliant film about childhood that I have ever seen. It is tremendous at every fathomable level. From production design, costumes, dialogue, effects, music, photography, editing, sound design and most of all performances. Performances from the humans, and astonishingly tender, horrible and mind-blowing work from the Wild Things.
See this movie!