“Where the Wild Things Are” (2009)

It took me a while to see Where the Wild Things Are, not because I didn’t want to. I did, based mostly on positive reviews from two of my favorite critics, Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune and A.O. Scott of the NYT, who now host At the Movies. My challenge was trying to find a time to take my 6yo son Drake and leave my 3yo son Guppy at home. Since it finally became a choice of waiting for a good time or seeing it somewhere else besides The Heights, I decided to take both boys.

What I’d heard from other parents was true; the beginning of the movie has tough stuff about kids and families that can be hard to watch. The middle part, where Max journeys to the land of the wild things, though, was supposed to be more entertaining. Sure enough, at the end of the beginning segment, where Max gets into serious trouble with his mom, who is wonderfully and sensitively played by Catherine Keener, Guppy said, “I want to go home now.”

I told him to wait and see, and that it would get better. It did, and he liked the middle and end, as did Drake. I thought this film was wonderful and moving, showing a lot of the fleeting joys and painful truths of childhood as well as the mother/spirited son relationship. It’s authentic to the book:

Carol: Hey King! What’s your first order of business?
Max: Let the wild rumpus start!

yet a work of art unto itself. This is most definitely geared toward older children and adults. It was well worth seeing, especially on the big screen, where director Spike Jonze’s unique vision can get the scope it deserves.

Comments are closed.