Where the Wild Things Are

User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 380 Ratings

User score distribution:

Where To Watch

Stream On
Stream On

Review this movie

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling

User Reviews

  1. Aug 17, 2012
    10
    A stunning, emotional , well acted and written movie. Although im glad many others give it a 10 i would disagree with any that state it not a childrens movie. Its for everyone that is or has ever been a child, and certainly some children ( just like the " adults " hear giving well thought out 0 reviews ) will find it boring but some will love it. It has a certain look like no other film .A stunning, emotional , well acted and written movie. Although im glad many others give it a 10 i would disagree with any that state it not a childrens movie. Its for everyone that is or has ever been a child, and certainly some children ( just like the " adults " hear giving well thought out 0 reviews ) will find it boring but some will love it. It has a certain look like no other film . Everyone has differnt opinions on everything in life so dont listen to the ( incorrect ) bad review....know what your getting into and just watch it. U could be missing out on one of your new favs :) Expand
  2. BridgetC.
    Oct 18, 2009
    8
    While the story sagged a bit in the late middle, the rest had me gripped and enmeshed in the head of a 9 year old ( hard to do that with my mind).
  3. Sep 7, 2013
    7
    Slow pacing does not hinder this enchanting movie, a story so innocent and at the same time so dangerous one cannot help but wonder if director Spike Jonze is secretly a ten years old kid. The integration between costumes and CGI looks beautiful the Wild Things show real emotions and are never clumsy. At one point the movie starts going nowhere, but its delicate allegories and interestingSlow pacing does not hinder this enchanting movie, a story so innocent and at the same time so dangerous one cannot help but wonder if director Spike Jonze is secretly a ten years old kid. The integration between costumes and CGI looks beautiful the Wild Things show real emotions and are never clumsy. At one point the movie starts going nowhere, but its delicate allegories and interesting look keep the attention up. Soundtrack is spot-on. Expand
  4. Oct 8, 2011
    7
    "Where the Wild Things Are" is a movie campier than its original book source, but director Spike Jonze successfully transfers the unbiased, pure perspective of a child (Max) to the audience.
  5. Mar 20, 2016
    7
    Where the Wild Things Are may be the first family film in recent memory to rely not on narrative or character development but on ideas and the director's vision. The result is an involving experience for all but the most fidgety children and an opportunity for parents to enjoy (rather than endure) a motion picture with their offspring. For director Spike Jonze, this represents a "petWhere the Wild Things Are may be the first family film in recent memory to rely not on narrative or character development but on ideas and the director's vision. The result is an involving experience for all but the most fidgety children and an opportunity for parents to enjoy (rather than endure) a motion picture with their offspring. For director Spike Jonze, this represents a "pet project" and it turns out better than is often the case when a filmmaker is too close to the source material. There are problems, but they are mostly minor and do little to detract from Where the Wild Things Are's effectiveness as a 2009 answer to The Wizard of Oz.

    The movie's plot is minimal; it's more about changes to Max's worldview than anything physical. Much of what happens on the island concentrates on his interactions with the various creatures he encounters there. It's here that things tend to meander as the dramatic momentum flags. In adapting Maurice Sendak's illustrated book, Jonze was forced to expand the canvas significantly, and this leads to some narrative and pacing issues during the midsection. Dorothy's journey along the Yellow Brick Road explores many of the same ideas with a tighter focus. Jonze also fashions a level of separation between Max and the audience, creating situations in which the intellectual resonance is stronger than the emotional one. One doesn't feel invested in Max's adventure in a way that would elevate this story to the high level achieved by the best children's story adaptation of recent years, A Bridge to Terabithia.

    The central relationship on the island is between Max and the giant Carol (whose voice is provided by James Gandolfini). Carol, for lack of a better term, represents Max's soul: a need for friendship and unconditional love coupled with the capacity for destruction. By coming to terms with Carol, Max learns to understand himself and, most importantly, the trauma he has been causing his mother. Another important friendship develops between Max and the nurturing KW (voice of Lauren Ambrose), who represents the aspect of Max we see early in the movie when he curls up by his mother's feet.

    The creature design is an incredible feat of imagination, evoking with near-flawless effectiveness the illustrations in Sendak's book. The Wild Things provide the impression of muppets and Big Bird (not surprising considering the involvement of Jim Henson's Creature Shop), but not in a cartoony way. They are the kinds of giant puppets that Sid and Marty Krofft would have used in H.R. Pufnstuf given the technology and budget. As "cute" as they sometimes appear, they are capable of generating an aura of menace. When Carol becomes enraged, there's nothing cuddly about him. The importance of getting the look of the Wild Things right should not be underestimated, since the film's success relies on this. Jonez and his team find the right balance between three-dimensional embodiments of the book's creatures and entities that work in the context of a live-action motion picture.

    Where the Wild Things Are is Jonze's third feature length motion picture (he is probably still best known for his music videos). The sense of visual imagination one has come to expect based on Being John Malkovich and Adaptation (both written by Charlie Kaufman) is fulfilled here. This movie is nothing if not an embodiment of Jonze's flair and style. Most importantly, it fulfills the #1 criterion of any family film: it involves viewers of all ages on different levels. Children will react viscerally (both positively and negatively, with delight and fear) to the creatures, pre-teens and young teens will connect with Max and instinctively relate to his experiences, and adults will recognize the allegorical nature of the experience and enjoy it for what it is. This is probably the best family film since Disney's Up, and one of the most visually interesting pictures of the year. Whether or not it's a big success during its theatrical run, this is the kind of movie people will be watching for years to come at home.
    Expand
  6. MaartenH.
    Jan 10, 2010
    10
    Reminded me of my own youth but more creative and sprawling.
  7. EvinC
    Jan 2, 2010
    8
    Good film, but it is so depressing. I still appreciate it for bringing that emotion out in me.
  8. AmyK.
    Oct 18, 2009
    9
    I found this movie delightful in a most refreshing non-Disney, non-pop-culture spouting, non-bosom baring princess sort of way. I disagree that this movie is not for children - and don't understand why it's "better" to feed children such a sanitized, marketable version of reality. Visually beautiful, emotionally real, and yes, "wild" in the truest sense - in that emotions, I found this movie delightful in a most refreshing non-Disney, non-pop-culture spouting, non-bosom baring princess sort of way. I disagree that this movie is not for children - and don't understand why it's "better" to feed children such a sanitized, marketable version of reality. Visually beautiful, emotionally real, and yes, "wild" in the truest sense - in that emotions, relationships cannot be tamed, nor should they be feared for this. Not a message I think we should keep from our children. Expand
  9. DebbieT.
    Oct 18, 2009
    10
    A beautiful and I think perhaps misunderstood film. This is not a Hollywood formula film. But to mistake that a child cannot enjoy this or relate to the film is unfortunate. My 9 year old daughter loved this film. This is not a film with a morale. It is a portrait of a child's emotions in a breathtaking format. My daughter giggled at the appropriate times. My daughter was quiet and A beautiful and I think perhaps misunderstood film. This is not a Hollywood formula film. But to mistake that a child cannot enjoy this or relate to the film is unfortunate. My 9 year old daughter loved this film. This is not a film with a morale. It is a portrait of a child's emotions in a breathtaking format. My daughter giggled at the appropriate times. My daughter was quiet and thoughtful at appropriate times. The film is an accurate portrayal of a child in our modern world and all the feelings that get wrapped up into it. I'm not sure what folks were looking for. But it was sweet, heartbreaking and charming. Expand
  10. JeffP
    Mar 9, 2010
    10
    This movie is very heartfelt and had me balling my eyes out at the end. It is way too dark for children, but will take you back to your childhood. I absolutely love this movie. Let your emotions run wild during this film.
  11. EnzoP.
    Oct 16, 2009
    9
    Where the Wild Things one of the most anticipated films of the year is not a let down like many other films this year. But, if you are a parent and you are going to bring your children to see this film watch out. I think that this film is for 2nd grade and up and possibly 1st grade. This movie is appropriately rated PG not G. It's not that this film is to inappropriate for them well Where the Wild Things one of the most anticipated films of the year is not a let down like many other films this year. But, if you are a parent and you are going to bring your children to see this film watch out. I think that this film is for 2nd grade and up and possibly 1st grade. This movie is appropriately rated PG not G. It's not that this film is to inappropriate for them well it little bit is but they probably won't get it. Just like what Julie N said don't go in expecting a kids movie. Now going on the specific's of the film you are probably wondering how did the little boy act. Well, Max Records that is his name is terrific except for when he is crying. He really has to work on that a lot. The role he plays is not an easy role. He has to play a boy who has more imagination then Walt Disney and highly sensitive. But what really surprised me was that he was really funny. Spike Jonze the director and the co writer really captured a lot of funny moments and I didn't think it would've been all that funny. For instance Max when he was mad and it was time for dinner he stood up on the table and said FEED ME WOMEN. It might not sound that funny but it is. Also Spike Jonze decided to use a hand held camera for some of the most of the film. If it wasn't a hand held camera I do not know what shaking that entire time. Gosh it felt like the Blair Witch Project sometimes. Also a mistake in the writing was that it wasn't descriptive enough some things about the film it never told us. To add on to that in the ending it started to get out of control. The critic inside me was not happy about the weirdness and craziness but the fan inside me loved it. So it was very hard to give a score on this movie. Mainly because it was very fun, wild and out of control but so enjoyable. That it twisted my brain around. I just couldn't decide. Overall a wonderful film not so much as a family film but still one of the year's best. Collapse
  12. C.P.
    Oct 16, 2009
    10
    I never do these things, never comment or follow through with films after seeing them (unless with friends). Nevertheless, this movie was stunning. My vocabulary is limited and my mind is weary after seeing the 12 O'clock showing, but I will try to express how I feel. Every frame in this movie could be a photograph, every interaction between the characters is captured so strongly I never do these things, never comment or follow through with films after seeing them (unless with friends). Nevertheless, this movie was stunning. My vocabulary is limited and my mind is weary after seeing the 12 O'clock showing, but I will try to express how I feel. Every frame in this movie could be a photograph, every interaction between the characters is captured so strongly through the cinematography and the perfect setting (Australia). The Wild Things are all brilliantly played out and the pacing of the film is hurried (to accentuate the childlike impulsiveness of Max's mind). As a forewarning, this is not a film for children. It is a brutally dark and emotional film. The simple message from the story, some may have a problem with this, has been expanded into something incredibly large. It has become a tale about self reflection and allowing your mind to look at itself in order to learn what you are doing wrong. Max, the main character, is childish and immature. His anger is often untamed and he allows his sadness turn into aggression. The Wild Things are all branched out of his personality though and he has the opportunity to observe himself from an outside perspective. Its all so simply developed and displayed. There is not a moment in this movie that is misplaced or lacking of beauty. Enjoy it with an open mind. Expand
  13. h_e_n_r_y
    Oct 16, 2009
    10
    I really cannot properly describe the way this movie made me feel. It's a film everyone needs to see, not expecting a blockbuster or a 'magical'/cliché Disney film, but rather an experience you haven't had since your best childhood moment. The melancholy lies in the fact that our childhood has been dead for decades, but we have our children to look forward to.
  14. JohannaE.
    Oct 17, 2009
    9
    I really love this movie. I'm quite sure how my 7 and 9 year old children really felt about it. I'm hoping that it left them thinking. We talked about the themes of the film that they may not have understood on the own. I think it's a complex story, ideally for involved parents to take their older children too and discuss afterward. Don't expect children to fully enjoy I really love this movie. I'm quite sure how my 7 and 9 year old children really felt about it. I'm hoping that it left them thinking. We talked about the themes of the film that they may not have understood on the own. I think it's a complex story, ideally for involved parents to take their older children too and discuss afterward. Don't expect children to fully enjoy or comprehend it without you. However, isn't that what parents are for? I enjoyed the absolute beauty and poignancy of the film. It was bittersweet. Expand
  15. StevenS
    Oct 17, 2009
    10
    This truly was - A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. I've never left a theater so emotionally devastated in my life. Frame after gorgeously shot frame just aches with sadness in this beautiful meditation on what childhood is like growing up in a broken home. My hat is tipped and my hand is over my heart.
  16. QuentinV.
    Oct 17, 2009
    10
    By far the greatest, most imaginative, and clever film adaptation of a children's book ever done.
  17. JoeW.
    Oct 17, 2009
    8
    THIS IS NOT A MOVIE FOR KIDS. ITS ABOUT AS KID-FRIENDLY AS PAN'S LABYRINTH. THE YOUNG KIDS WERE TRAUMATIZED, AND I HAD TO LEAVE EARLY WITH MY 5 YEAR OLD.

    But it is a really excellent adult move. It's unbelievable how that the excellent young actor carried the entire feature.
  18. JoshC.
    Oct 18, 2009
    10
    Moving, subtle film.
  19. AD
    Oct 19, 2009
    8
    Not a kids movie, but super funny & deep.
  20. rickm
    Oct 19, 2009
    10
    As you can see from the scores, it would appear you either love or hate this movie. If you know what you are getting into before you see this movie, you will know it is not really a "children's" movie .. it is a movie ABOUT childhood. If you like movies that have the guts to go "outside the box" a little, you will appreciate this movie. It is an amazing accomplishment. Very powerful movie.
  21. JoelH
    Dec 11, 2009
    9
    For all you people complaining about the movie because you brought kids to it, did you even see the previews before you went? As for me, I got what I expected and enjoyed the movie very much.
  22. tabithap
    Dec 12, 2009
    10
    This film is pure, pure magic, and anyone who disagrees needs to think long and hard about what life was like when they were six and confined only by the limits of their imagination
  23. AtticusM
    Oct 20, 2009
    10
    Beautiful... A very symbolic movie. A true work of art.
  24. KirkG
    Oct 22, 2009
    10
    Visually stunning and emotionally exhilarating! A true work of art not to be missed on the big screen.
  25. CalebH
    Oct 23, 2009
    10
    I've seen it twice now and still can't get enough of it! One of the most multi-layered movies I have ever seen. I could eat it up, I love it so!
  26. MarkF
    Feb 10, 2010
    10
    Finally after seeing so much meaningless action and drama at the cinema in the last year, there's a movie that I really FELT. And for this movie that so polarises cinema critics and movie-goers, you have to feel it, and I'm glad I did. Certain visual, certain snippets of dialogue were like little shots to the heart and for me that was the brilliant thing, the sense of Finally after seeing so much meaningless action and drama at the cinema in the last year, there's a movie that I really FELT. And for this movie that so polarises cinema critics and movie-goers, you have to feel it, and I'm glad I did. Certain visual, certain snippets of dialogue were like little shots to the heart and for me that was the brilliant thing, the sense of identification with emotions we felt as children and indeed parents. Expand
  27. TomM
    Feb 6, 2010
    10
    Best film of 09! It was emotional, deeply profound and very original. Great acting and directing.
  28. JamesB.
    Mar 20, 2010
    8
    Pretty weird, but I liked it.
  29. MarkG
    Apr 10, 2010
    10
    This movie is a creative masterpiece.
  30. Ed
    Apr 16, 2010
    10
    Beautiful, heart wrenching, poignant. I can only assume that those who have chosen to bad mouth this wonderfully original piece of cinema have forgotten what it was like to be a child on the brink of losing your innocence and entering a more serious world. So you people can go see Transformers 2 for the 5th time and let the rest of us bask in the glow of a wonderful film that doesn't Beautiful, heart wrenching, poignant. I can only assume that those who have chosen to bad mouth this wonderfully original piece of cinema have forgotten what it was like to be a child on the brink of losing your innocence and entering a more serious world. So you people can go see Transformers 2 for the 5th time and let the rest of us bask in the glow of a wonderful film that doesn't treat its audience like complete morons. Expand
Metascore
71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. For all the artfulness, the feel of the film is rough-hewn, almost primitive. It’s a fabulous tree house of a movie.
  2. Where the film falters is Jonze and novelist Dave Eggers' adaptation, which fails to invest this world with strong emotions.
  3. 50
    I have a vision of eight-year-olds leaving the movie in bewilderment. Why are the creatures so unhappy? That question doesn’t return a child to safety or anywhere else. Of one thing I am sure: children will be relieved when Max gets away from this anxious crew.