We went to see Where the Wild Things Are this morning as a family. I wasn’t sure what to expect. All I can say is that our family awaited this movies’ release with baited breath. From the first time we saw the first trailer, we were sold. From the sound track, to the brilliance and creativity of the trailer alone, we could not wait to see this movie.
Max is a boy in his tween years, stuck somewhere between kid and teenager, confused about his emotions, and sad that no one in his world shares his fun sense of adventure. He is crushed at the slightest disappointment, yet vividly aware of life and adventure. I saw my Whitney in him over and over again.
Max is so angry with his Mom one night that he runs from her into the woods, finds a ship by a river and sails to another world. In this new world he meets monsters who are selfish and angry just like him, but also loving and kind just like him. He tries to create a world with them that is perfect and just how he wants it. Max even convinces the Wild Things that he is a king with magic powers. Things slowly started to crumble around him, and they figure out that he is not who he says he is. Even though Max had lots of fun with the Wild Things, he decides it’s time to go home.
Whitney was sad because everyone didn’t have the chance to make up before the movie ended. Carol and Max had a fight, and Max had to leave the Wild Things and go back home to his Mom. There is a feeling of longing at the end, but I thought this was very healthy. It was a very un-American movie, in that everyone wasn’t happy in the end. I heard about a study once that said the #1 thing American parents wanted for their kids was to be happy.
I am under the belief and opinion that happiness is a wonderful by-product of right living, but happiness is not always a guarantee. In real life there is suffering and sadness. In real life, friends don’t always make up. In real life, we don’t always get to do things the way we want them to, have the homes we want, the families we want, or the circumstances we want.
Real life is living through disappointment together. Real life is navigating uncharted waters with your family, riding it out together, while sometimes it seems the whole world around you wants you to fail and fall apart.
Max goes home in the end to his Mom who truly loves him. In my opinion, the movie is about finding happiness in your circumstances, not because of them. I loved this movie.
Rob had an interesting take on the movie. Here’s his few words about it:
I thought it was brilliant. One of my all time favorite kid movies. I thought the screenwriters brought a depth to the characters that was surprising for a short children's story. The cinematography was breathtaking at points. The soundtrack was so fresh and carried the spirit of wildness that is the heart of the movie. The kid who played Max WAS … Max. It never felt like he was acting…amazing. Each of the monsters represent a different part of Max’s personalities/emotions or his older sister. I think one was his missing Father. His interactions with them took me back to those years where childhood was ending and adult hood beginning. As a parent of Tweens, I could see my girls on screen too. I thought the movie was profound. We chatted with another family who saw it at the same time as us…they hated it. The movie is bittersweet because it's about the end of childhood and the challenge of losing your innocence through loss/pain. I think they were expecting a fun kids movie with goofy monsters. Our youngest Belle, who is five, got lost half way through, but there was enough happening visually to pull her back in. The older girls really enjoyed it. We had a great talk afterwards about what each monster represented. I could see Maddie, my 11yr old, wheels turning. She loves to write and dug the symbolism. I think she related to the emotional journey Max was on. Freud would have loved this movie. LOL