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. TedD
    Apr 18, 2010
    3
    I just saw the film, Where the Wild Things Are, last night. There were moments that I really liked in the film but even in those moments I felt frustrated in that the movies main character had never been fully develope much less a sense of exceptionality in his life experience. Even when I tried to appreciate the setting and creation of the wild animals I was aware of my boredom. And as I just saw the film, Where the Wild Things Are, last night. There were moments that I really liked in the film but even in those moments I felt frustrated in that the movies main character had never been fully develope much less a sense of exceptionality in his life experience. Even when I tried to appreciate the setting and creation of the wild animals I was aware of my boredom. And as to the insights into childhood, I found those self-indulgent. One scene stood out to me. Before running away, the boy stands on the kitchen table saying "Feed me woman" and asserts more than he knows only to find that he is more terrified with his mothers remark, "What is wrong with you? Maybe he knows in a post Freudian world living with a single Mom and watching his Mom flirting with her boyfriend. His answer is to set sail and find a new family where he can be King and in becoming King he becomes tamed. I like the insight but a whole film? Collapse
  2. 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
  3. 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).
  4. AnonymousMC
    Oct 20, 2009
    4
    I'm going to go ahead and agree with everyone else; visually, this movie is stunning. Aside from that, I didn't like it. The whole movie was largely forgettable and boring. The music is distracting and it often took me a minute to discern the music from the actual audio of the film. The events are disconnected and just sort of happen one after another with no real flow or senseI'm going to go ahead and agree with everyone else; visually, this movie is stunning. Aside from that, I didn't like it. The whole movie was largely forgettable and boring. The music is distracting and it often took me a minute to discern the music from the actual audio of the film. The events are disconnected and just sort of happen one after another with no real flow or sense of plot. More than that, though, the movie seems to illustrate the point that life is terrible and no matter what you do to try and fix it, it will only get worse. Certainly not a message for a kids movie. And on that note, the movie seems to reward bad behavior more than it does anything else. The boy throws a tantrum for no reason and is gifted a kingdom. When he returns home, he gets cake. We leave the movie with nothing resolved, and I myself was annoyed.

    It's apparent that many people liked this film. I want to say people liked it because they expected to. I personally would recommend watching the trailer instead. It's much more moving and exciting than the film was.
    Expand
  5. kent
    Nov 6, 2009
    6
    More for adults than kids. Awfully serious and depressing, especially for kids. Takes patience to watch through, but moving near the end.
  6. Mar 26, 2013
    1
    Now, yes. Many people.. are going to disagree with me, go ahead, hate me. I don't like this movie. I DESPISE THIS MOVIE!!! This is just too dark, too dark (by this part, I mean literally, JUST LOOK AT THE BACKGROUND PEOPLE!!!), and what is pretty much one of the worst costumes on a person for a kids movie, this movie is unappealing and is too dark for a children's movie. And I wanted toNow, yes. Many people.. are going to disagree with me, go ahead, hate me. I don't like this movie. I DESPISE THIS MOVIE!!! This is just too dark, too dark (by this part, I mean literally, JUST LOOK AT THE BACKGROUND PEOPLE!!!), and what is pretty much one of the worst costumes on a person for a kids movie, this movie is unappealing and is too dark for a children's movie. And I wanted to give it a chance, because when I was a little kid (or even a baby), this was one one of my favourite books, and you people are giving me this, how disgraceful. Expand
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. Mar 22, 2012
    2
    The book is my all-time favorite children's story and still holds up as a wonderful tale well into my adulthood. So forgive me if I take it a little personally when (the normally competent and entertaining) Spike Jonze comes along and turns it into a complete bore. On top of being a snoozer, the world of the Wild Things is as stale and spartan as you can get... the complete opposite ofThe book is my all-time favorite children's story and still holds up as a wonderful tale well into my adulthood. So forgive me if I take it a little personally when (the normally competent and entertaining) Spike Jonze comes along and turns it into a complete bore. On top of being a snoozer, the world of the Wild Things is as stale and spartan as you can get... the complete opposite of the lush world created by Maurice Sendak. There are also moments of scariness that I don't believe young children should see despite it's questionable PG rating. So yeah, it's a kids' movie that's unsuitable for younger kids. Good call on that one, Spike. Altogether a huge, thudding disappointment that I would like to say would have Mr. Sendak rolling in his grave... except he's still alive... and he has a producer credit in the film. So an unfortunate big thumbs down to one of my literary heroes. :(.... Expand
  10. Nov 2, 2010
    4
    If you are a fan of this book, or if your kids are just now becoming fans of the book, please do not let them watch this movie, it will ruin the book for them. This movie does no justice to it. The only way you could watch this movie and maybe enjoy it a bit is if you had nothing better to do and you rented this movie. Otherwise stay way.
  11. EricL
    Oct 30, 2009
    0
    This movie was awful and definately not a kids movie. The openng scene with the sister kissing on the couch was unecessary and came without warning for me to prepare my small children. In addition, the disfunctional boy biting his mother and then running away was out of character with the book. The movie truly illustrates bad disfunctional behavior, but does not drive the point for This movie was awful and definately not a kids movie. The openng scene with the sister kissing on the couch was unecessary and came without warning for me to prepare my small children. In addition, the disfunctional boy biting his mother and then running away was out of character with the book. The movie truly illustrates bad disfunctional behavior, but does not drive the point for children to understand why the behavior is unacceptable. THIS IS AN ADULT MOVIE, better suited for those trying to understand the depth and emotions of a disfunctional child!!! Expand
  12. AlexD.
    Jan 9, 2010
    1
    The movie is about a kid going to another world and trying to make everything right for them, but fails miserably and goes back home. It was really awful. Nothing even like the book my dad used to read to me when I went to bed at night.
  13. DamianP
    Mar 6, 2010
    3
    Lots of good songs, lots of anger and lots of no story. Do not punish your kids with this movie - buy them the soundtrack instead.
  14. VinceS
    Apr 2, 2010
    0
    Anyone who rated this movie above a 2 should seek help! Did Jones even have a script it seems the Actors were thrown on to set and Spike said, Ok say something! They seemed lost thru the whole movie, if Spike Jones would have just stuck to the book it might have been good instead we got this, I want my money back!
  15. MichaelB
    Dec 6, 2009
    0
    Boring is one word to describe this movie. There are some slightly fun elements but everything is ruined by the story line which is lacking completely... it's just made up of disjointed ideas. The way the movie looks visually is amazing, but underneath the makeup there's really nothing of value that will stay with you, it just feels hollow on the substance front. It's a Boring is one word to describe this movie. There are some slightly fun elements but everything is ruined by the story line which is lacking completely... it's just made up of disjointed ideas. The way the movie looks visually is amazing, but underneath the makeup there's really nothing of value that will stay with you, it just feels hollow on the substance front. It's a movie that kids won't understand or like and a movie that will leave adults disappointed thanks to the undeserved hype. At least the soundtrack is good, if you're a fan of Karen O and the 'Yeah Yeah Yeahs' you're probably going to be satisfied by the soundtrack rather than the movie. Expand
  16. SteveM.
    Oct 20, 2009
    0
    This was the worst movie I have ever seen, and I've seen The Patriot and Transformers. It mistakes misery for profundity and strips all joy from childhood. Enjoy kids!
  17. Magnum
    Jan 17, 2010
    3
    I fell asleep and dreamed I had gone to see Zombieland instead. I really wanted to like it too, it's just that it's so boring.
  18. JoseR.
    Feb 7, 2010
    0
    The ugliest movie i ever seen in my life. i thought nothing can beat "lady in the water" or "futuresport" this sucks big time. It's about a retard kid that thinks he can do whatever he wants. wish that the monsters ate him right away so the film could end early. Boring!
  19. KellyO
    Mar 15, 2010
    2
    The sound track was good other then that this movie was horrible. Here is a quick plotline: Little kid ruins mom's date then runs into woods finds boat goes to other world ruins it then comes back satisfied and forces mom to make him food. It should really be renamed "Land of Depressed Monsters"
  20. BradP
    Mar 15, 2010
    0
    Yawn. A selfish kid full of self-pity goes to an unadventurous island inhabited by lame, unhappy, aimless "things" that are decidedly un-wild. Not sure how such psycho-babble nonsense was derived from the 9-sentence book. The mom's worshipful gazing at the end is repulsive.
  21. DavidS
    Mar 17, 2010
    2
    First: Why did so many reviewers suggest this might be a kids' movie? It's a kid's movie for your wounded inner child. Spike Jonze said he wanted to capture how it was to be nine years old. Well, he succeeded, and maybe that's why I hate this movie so much. Nine for me meant divorce, yelling parents, separation, uncertainty and anxiety. I read books like "Wild Things" First: Why did so many reviewers suggest this might be a kids' movie? It's a kid's movie for your wounded inner child. Spike Jonze said he wanted to capture how it was to be nine years old. Well, he succeeded, and maybe that's why I hate this movie so much. Nine for me meant divorce, yelling parents, separation, uncertainty and anxiety. I read books like "Wild Things" to imagine a place beyond all that. But the stressful home Max leaves (like mine) is Oz compared to the mopey, violent, joyless land of emo muppets he lands on. There is nothing bright or delightful about this world or this movie and Max is never in command of anything, but always fearful and sad. And yes, that was my nine, but that doesn't mean it makes a good movie. Especially when nothing happens, and for a long time. Masking the misery with indie-star voices and achy hipster tunes doesn't make it gold. "Wild Things" is painful and boring. Expand
  22. HeatherP
    Nov 4, 2009
    1
    #1 NOT A KID'S MOVIE #2 Violent #3 Destructive #4 Without Resolution #5 Doesn't hold a candle to what happened in my imagination...wish I could erase this movie from my memory!
  23. SawyerC.
    Oct 17, 2009
    0
    DEPRESSING! DARK! AWFUL!
  24. 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
  25. jcherry
    Nov 1, 2009
    0
    Truly Awful...long dreary depressing. I was relieved my four year old fell asleep so as not to ruin one of her favorite books. This movie truly sucked, in ways beyond my humble ability to describe, posing as a hipster film doesn't make it a good movie, just a pretentious one. Spike was waaaaay off the mark with this one!!!!!!
  26. JacobP
    Oct 18, 2009
    6
    Some people may walk into this show thinking it's a children's film, understandably as it
  27. MaartenH.
    Jan 10, 2010
    10
    Reminded me of my own youth but more creative and sprawling.
  28. EvinC
    Jan 2, 2010
    8
    Good film, but it is so depressing. I still appreciate it for bringing that emotion out in me.
  29. Bren
    Apr 26, 2010
    1
    This movie was an unfocused, boring mess. Just because the director backlights practically every shot does not make it emotionally profound nor does it support any filmic metatexts. Key problems: 1. The monsters have regular adult voices, and these voices are used for complaining all the time thus crushing any form of escapism 2. Max is too old to be behaving like a 4 year old- he comes This movie was an unfocused, boring mess. Just because the director backlights practically every shot does not make it emotionally profound nor does it support any filmic metatexts. Key problems: 1. The monsters have regular adult voices, and these voices are used for complaining all the time thus crushing any form of escapism 2. Max is too old to be behaving like a 4 year old- he comes across as a kid with ADHD 3. The film is incoherent and formless with no building action, climax or resolution- if Warner Bros. wanted an art film, they could have gotten Godard to make it- and better 4. The film is political in the sense that if you don't like it you are vilified as a soulless conservative just because a committee of granola crunching potheads thought they were making a profound film. Don't ever bother watching this film. Read the book instead 40 times in the 101 minutes running time of this adaptation (and I use the term loosely) and it will be time better spent. Expand
  30. 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
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.