Where the Wild Things Are (Jonze, 2009)

Where the Wild Things Are (Spike Jonze, 2009)

I hyped this up in my mind a little too much, which probably made this slightly disappointing, but it was still great, and one of the better ‘children’s’ movies I have ever seen. It is, quite simply, about a child who is going through a hard time in his life. His single mom is dating, and the attention is no longer on him, so he escapes to his imagination. Though the wild things are very obviously symbolic of the people in his life, and the situation he is in, they aren’t insulting in any way. They come across as genuine imaginative figures, and Jonze does a great job making sure these creatures come from the mind of Max.

Where the Wild Things Are

The film is also beautifully shot. It felt almost strange to see beautiful images, great use of lighting, and hand-held shots in a movie starring costumed creatures. Honestly, I think it actually threw me off at first. But the whole thing was fantastic to look at, and very similar to some of my favorite visual films. This movie is completely for adults, but completely from the mind of a child, and it’s somewhat difficult to penetrate. But I have a feeling this will be a film I like even more on re-watches.  9/10



9 Responses to “Where the Wild Things Are (Jonze, 2009)”

  1. Loved it too! I was wondering what you thought of this. It was SO beauitful. Man, I can’t wait to see it again…

  2. No….I am still without a journal…

  3. I just saw this movie tonight. I also hyped it up in my mind, although I wasn’t disappointed at all, which is a pretty rare thing when expectations are so high. Interesting that you say it’s for adults; I know I would have loved it as a kid, probably more than I do as an adult.

    Nice blog, by the way. I may have to steal your Favorite Directors List idea.

    • chrisfilm Says:

      Glad you liked it and thanks for checking out the blog.

      I guess you were braver as a child than I was, because it probably would have scared me. Plus, I definitely wouldn’t have understood it.

  4. Kyle King Says:

    I finally saw this. I thought it was a brilliant character study of Max, and a great movie about childhood in general. ***Spoiler alert***

    I would propose that the monsters are not symbolic of the people in Max’s life. True, they incorporate elements, but it’s not cut and dried. Carrol could be Max himself, but he is also his mom/dad with K.W., even though K.W. (the female) is the one leaving the family. K.W. could also be his sister, since she has friends that she prefers over the other monsters. Then we’ve got Ira and Judith, who could also be his mom and dad, or his mom and her boyfriend. Douglas could be his mom, too, the voice of reason if you will. Douglas also gets hurt, similar to Max biting his mom. Then the goat guy turns out to be like Max, too, since no one listens to him. (I haven’t figured out the big black bull.)

    I think ultimately the monsters embody the unbridled childhood emotions and desires that live in Max. I definitely think it’s a subtle growing up story, with the monsters representing parts of Max that he must learn to rule. So in the process, it examines imagination (the building of the fort, the games they play), divorce (trying to keep K.W. in the group), death (the sand/dust motif), and general childhood cruelty (the dirt clod fight is a perfect scene for this). There is always a sense of urgency and danger, with the monsters reminding Max that they could eat him, even at the end.

    • chrisfilm Says:

      Oh yeah, I agree the monsters are each symbolic of one individual person in Max’s life. In fact, symbolic is probably the wrong word. They’re manifestations of the character traits of the people in Max’s life, mixed up like you noted. I thought it was perfect considering that is exactly how children imagine.

    • chrisfilm Says:


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