All member reviews for Where the Wild Things Are

Common Sense Media says

Sometimes-dark adaptation focuses on friendship, loneliness.

Users say

(out of 294 reviews)
age 8+
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Teen, 15 years old Written bybpixie December 22, 2010

DISTURBING

I went and watched it with my four year old brother and dad, and I CRIED. It was an amazing movie, I have to say, but very, very violent and disturbing. I had nightmares. First of all, the opening scenes made me tear up a little bit. Max is making a snowfort and her sister and her friends (some boys) come over and the guys start tearing it apart, and they jump on top of him, causing him to cry and his lip to bleed. Then, they just leave. The mother swears at him later and is emotionally abusive to him, which was horrible. He then runs away and finds a little boat and goes through the ocean to get to a tiny island, where he finds the "Wild Things". In short form, they have fun together, but there are some extremely disturbing and scenes. They can also be very gruesome, such as when someone's arm is torn off, and also one of the characters goes on a rant and tears after Max, proclaiming he's going to eat him, so another character hides Max in her sticky, gooey, dark MOUTH. Ew. Horrible messages throughout the movie except at the end when Max comes home and the family bonds (sort of). All in all, it's a fantastic movie, very well put together, but NOT AT ALL like the popular's children's book. Not for anyone under ten, and even that's pushing it. Gruesome, disturbing, violent, but in the end ... amazing. :)
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Teen, 13 years old Written bymngirl August 30, 2010

Zero Stars- Don't Even LOOK At It!

Went to see it on my birthday. Worst. Movie. Ever. By far. It was pointless. The book was better. But, the worst movie by far! It was so bad that I wanted to throw up, bury myself in a hole and die. Can you PLEASE let me rate it zero stars. Believe me, I would! It's like a black hole! I wasted my life. Its so depressing and just plain horrible! Don't take kids to see it, don't even LOOK at it, don't rent, buy it, nothing!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byredsxfenway January 31, 2010

Should remain unseen

**** Mild spoilers ahead**** This was one of my favorite books as a child and one of my least favorite movies as college student. To those who know Jonze, it's not surprise the way the film ended up. It's angst-ridden and filled with light easy-listening indie pop music. I'm not one for nostalgia but this film utterly failed to capture the spirit of the book. It seems like Maurice Sendak, who was involved in the making of the film, forgot what he wrote more than 35 years ago. The book had a story of adventure and freedom, while the film is overly-dramatic, filled with almost constant sadness. There's nothing wrong with a film departing from the book its based on, but this film is a poor one even in a vacuum. The constant sorrow in the film takes away from what could be a very touching scene of Max leaving the island. Because the characters are so sad throughout the film, there's no real change in emotion in the final scene. Jonze puts the monsters in constant conflict with each other, back and forth between love and hate and it gets tiresome very quickly. However it is incredibly beautiful and the animation/puppetry is stunning. Children will likely be frightened by the violent interactions and probably turned off by the slow pace and dialogue that will likely be over their heads.
Kid, 11 years old December 30, 2009

Think before you see...

I see that a lot of parents here are complaining about the movies violence and dark themes. What you need to know is that this movie is not for kids under nine, or anyone with a weak stomach. The movie is for adults, particularly those with troubled or depressed children, and the movie shows a very detailed, accurate, and intense view of the hardships these children face. The main character, Max, is a chronically depressed boy, who does not only unleash his anger very brutally, destroying other people's possesions, hurting himself, etc. The viewer can infer that these things have been going on for awhile. He also keeps grudges. In fact, the movies opening scene is of an angry Max chasing after and hurting a small dog in his rage. The scene is very intense, but also relatively brief. After that, it shows him building an igloo in the snow. You can also tell at this scene that his father was divorced with his mother,and Max misses him. We will examine this more later. Anyway, he sees his teenage sister and some of her friends, and challenges them to a snowball fight. But things get rough, and not only is Max hurt, his igloo is destroyed. Later, he goes into her room and, in a display of anger, trashes and destroys many of her valuable possesions, including a card he made for her for Valentines day. When his mother comes home from work he tells her what happened. He gets her attention by doing an odd sort of dance act, similar to the actions of many depressed children. He also tells her a story he made up, about a vampire and some building. This is obviously related to the snow scene, as you will be able to tell. At one time, it shows his room where there are many traces of his depression.(Two headed lego people, books and clothes strewn everywhere, etc.) He comes down for dinner, in his wolf costume, and is shocked to see his mother and a man, probably her boyfriend, kissing and drinking wine. Fearing that the man will replace his father, he gets angry, hurts his mother, and runs away from home. We now transition into Max's mind and imagination he finds a boat, and sails on to an island. On the island, he meets a very wild, destructive, and intense group of monsters called The Wild Things. They threaten to eat him, but he claims to be a great ruler from a distant land, and they grant him their king. As the movie progresses, the overall feel becomes very shaggy and sad. Max tries to make the place a sort of perfect realm, where nothing bad ever happens, but things soon go awry. One of the Wild Things, K.W., introduces him to two of her friends, who are owls. Notice how the Wild Things personalities are all parts of Max, with Judith being depressed, K.W. being selfless and inclusive, and Max's friend Carol, being very much like him. However, Carol becomes jealous of the owls, and becomes very angry, much like Max, and in one intense sequence, rips Douglas's arm off.(No blood is shown.) Fortunately, K.W. helps him escape. Soon, Max begins to miss his mother, and eventually sails off to his home. Carol realizes the error of his ways, and sobs as Max leaves. We exit Max's mind and return to the real world.Max returns home, and he seems to have been gone several hours. His mother welcomes him gladly home, and while she has been generally oblivious to his problem earlier, she seems to recognize it now. It can be infered that after the movie, Max gets professional help. With all this in mind, you must realize that this movie is very unlike the book, is very dark and intense, and is most certainly not for the same audience as the one for the book.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 14 years old Written bycheeserules October 16, 2009
This is an amazing movie. It's leagues better than the garbage they churn out for kid's movies these days. You know why? This isn't a kid's movie, at least in the normal sense. It's appropriate for kids...there are some tense moments for younger kids...but older kids and adults will get way more out of it. It's emotional, dark, moody, and incredibly heartfelt. This isn't a movie that shies away from difficult themes, so if you want your kid to grow up sheltered from the big, bad world and believe that life is all happy and perfect, avoid this film. Otherwise, see it!!
What other families should know
Great messages
Adult Written byBookMomToo April 16, 2010

BEST MOVIE of the decade!!!

My children all loved the book, and grew up listening to all of Maurice Sendak's books over and over upon request. I am not usually one to go to the movies, my forte is reading. My oldest son saw the movie, he is a sophmore in college, and told me I needed to see it. He confided that he cried. It has taken me months and months to getting around to finally seeing it, and I can't begin to say enough WONDERFUL things about it!!! What I don't understand is the gloom and doom reviews it was given with so much talk about how scary it was. Personally I think it was incredibly thought provoking and insightful in portraying childhood in all its glory. I would have no problem showing it to any child five and up as it was not Hollywood violent and the subject matter, language, and visuals are all appropriate.
What other families should know
Great messages
Parent of a 5 and 8 year old Written byThe Tim K October 21, 2009

Lazy and uninvolved parents leave your kids at home; the good parents take their kids

This movie is not for lazy parents. Uninvolved parents should leave their kids home. You are dead wrong if you think you can take your children to this movie without talking with them before, maybe during, and definitely after. The messages around lonliness are very powerful. The messages are around family, love, caring about others...it's really about Emotional Intelligence. And these messages are very complex, intimate, moving, and nuanced. The cinematography is intense and the directing is just odd enough to shake up the "normal" way that movies try to show personal connections. There is real value in this movie. You can teach your children to develop their own values with this movie. Just do it actively. If you're lazy with your kids, then don't take them until they're 16.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byjason913 October 18, 2009

Not for kids, but still a great film!

This is not a kids film. I just want to get that misconception off your mind right now. Anyway, this is a very good film for several reasons. One, it doesn't treat you like a little kid and spoon feed you corporate approved morals. All the characters have flaws and are not shown as role models. All the wild things are essentialy different facets of anyone's personality, making the film very transcendent. Also, it doesn't beat you over the head with obnoxious slapstick like most of today's tripe. It leaves room for lots of--gasp!--dramatic moments! So anyway, even though it isn't for kids under 10, anyone over 10 who knows that not every movie is happy times and gumdrops will be satisfied, at least.
Kid, 10 years old December 6, 2010

boring, dark, and the worst movie ever

I really HATE this movie. Don't buy it, Don't rent it, Don't think about buying it, and worst of all, Don't even LOOK at it.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 13 years old Written byLittle movie freak December 20, 2009

The Best film of 2009!

This is the best movie of the year by far since "The Blind Side"! "Where The Wild Things Are is a darker sometimes scarier and a sad experience.This movie has some intense situations that include Carol (the main Wild Thing in the group)having bad behavior and lots intense fights such as dirt clod war and a scene where Carol and Douglas have an (upsetting to younger kids)intense fight Spoiler Alert: where Carol breaks Douglas's favorite arm (sort of funny to look at) and has a stick to replace it. There is brief language that include the d and the h word.Insults are used pretty strongly (especially used in fights)that include stupid and God.This movie is also played in Imax theaters too and if you see it there it will be more intense and upsetting for kids 9 and under.There are also some adult parts younger kids won't understand. This movie is a the BEST movie of the 2009 year by far. U need 2 C this movie ASAP(as soon as possible.)It's movie I loved and that I gave an A . It's something that adults will LOVE and cry at and a movie that (older kids 10 + )will probably enjoy too, but will not enjoy it as much as I did. 5 stars. An A !
Parent of a 8 year old Written byYlonen Fam October 23, 2009
I took my 8 yr old step-son to this movie for his birthday. We had been reading about it and knew that it wasn't really a "kids" movie but we still wanted to see what it was about. I personally loved it, with a 8 yr old that has been through many issues with his mother and some anger problems this move was perfect! It showed him that he was not alone when he felt certain ways. I also loved the way that dialogue was meant for kids, it helped him to get into it more. I think this is a great movie.
What other families should know
Great messages
Parent of a 6 and 8 year old Written bySoftball mom February 23, 2011
This movie was just a nightmare. I regret having taken my kids to see it.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Adult Written byCSMomBB October 23, 2009
I don't understand all the negative reaction to this movie. It is a good movie--even though it is not the typical shiny, happy movie for kids--we have enough of those. I've seen many comments on what a violent movie it was. There was only one iffy scene (the arm scene). I thought the interaction between the characters was wonderful. The movie didn't wrap everything up in a nice tidy package at the end either. It made you think. And, different people can have different ideas of what the movie meant to them. I enjoyed taking my kids to a movie that made them question and think about things afterwards. While I wouldn't say that my 9 & 12 year old kids loved it, they did say that they liked it and thought it was different. And, I think different is a good thing.
Kid, 11 years old October 23, 2011

Know why I cried in the end?

BECAUSE I HAD JUST WASTED ABOUT 2 HOURS OF MY LIFE WATCHING THIS STUPID MOVIE!! Do not see it under any circumstances.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 10 years old April 16, 2010

This is not a good movie at all

I hated this movie. It was very upsetting and the role models are really bad. That kid seriously needs to control himself and he serious needs a huge time out.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 9 years old January 2, 2010

Why would anyone like this? It's sad, weird, lacks of story, has bad messages.

This movie was probably the one of the worst movies ever. It's terrible! I saw this with my friend, and he hated it too. A kid gets mad at his sister, wrecks her room, bites his mom, runs away, steals a boat, sails to an unknown island, becomes king of weird, giant creatures who live there, has a war, the wild things get mad, Max does the robot, Sails away, back home, where his mom isn't mad at all. There's the story. Dark, sad, weird, creepy, and bad. DON'T SEE THIS!!!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 17 year old Written bymeatloaf November 13, 2009
For all the artistry of the costumes, the acting and overall excellence of the camera and scenic work, the violence inherent in Where the Wild Things Are is overwhelming, disquieting and off putting. The Director missed the mark of translating a subtle, wonderfully imaginative book into a film. Instead it belongs in the Horror Section of the local video store. In my opinion, Jonze betrayed the spirit of the book. When reading the original text, even with the accompanying pictures, our minds are invited to fill in the open spaces. We can imagine and sustain our own idea of how scary Max's situation is, quite a lot or just a little, depending on our life experience of violence, anger, pain or neglect. But in this film, the director has ir-responsibly presented a level of violence way beyond what most adults or children can or want to imagine. The book, Where The Wild Things Are has been serving the needs of children and adults/parents for decades. Using anger, frustration, kid vs adult worlds and all the associated psychological trappings, it explores and maps out valuable territory for how to be a human being. The malleability of the original story to suit the readers needs is what makes it popular. The crisis Max goes through and his resolution of it is deliberately vague, slightly unearthly and imaginative. We go with Max willingly because we are in control of how scary the adventure will ultimately be. In the film, the overall scary factor has been heightened so much it overwhelms the characters, confusing what they represent. Max and the Monsters have terrifying interactions that nail viewers to their seats with countless dark, frightening images. The dialog wanders over the emotive landscape but never lands, and strange unexplained connections lead us to nowhere. All of it together makes an uneasy, unresolved story. Jonze either didn't understand or ignored the subtlety of the books nature. Instead he pounds us with ‘his' idea of what scary is and leaves literally nothing to our imaginations. With this film, we are not in control, Jonze is and his imagination is horrifying. I wouldn't want to be with him on a cold, dark, windy night.. The saddest aspect of the release of the film is that parents will think it's intended to be seen by children, associating it's title with the book That is a fatal error. This is not a childrens film, nor an adult film really. There's no room to breath, imagine and have any fun. It's Jones' private nightmare and I wish I'd not paid to see it!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Adult Written byMomMower November 6, 2009

Weird - Bad role model in Max - save your $$$ - NOT the story in the book.

This movie has disobedient Max doing things that my children don't do, so right away, the main character is modeling bad behavior rather than being a positive role model for impressionable kids at this age. Throwing things, trashing his sister's room, disrespecting and disobeying his mother, biting her, being defiant in general, then running away, all are not something that I want my kids to do. It did provide some good talking points after the movie, such as how angry Carol was, and how mean Julia was. Then again, Max had a sweet side, and his stressed-out mother did spend some quality time with him, which was nice. I felt really sorry for his life! Where was his dad? I was disappointed in the darkness of the movie, and it seemed to drag on. My son wanted to leave because he said it was "boring". I would not see it again, it does not seem to be for kids. Max's personality disorders and Carol's mental health issues clearly are not "normal" and kids this age can't comprehend, nor should they be exposed to such strange behavior.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of a 5 and 7 year old Written bybensara91513 October 17, 2009
Where the Wild Things Are was a Caldecott Medal winning children's book. It has been read by you children for decades. It is a favorite. That's why this movie was such a shocker. As an adult, I could appreciate this movie. It had some poignant messages, and I cannot say that there was no truth to the movie. But it was just waaaaay too heavy. Scary? The scary element of this movie did not even phase my children. My 5 year old was crying before Max even ran away, because she was sad about how lonely he felt. My 7 year old handled it a little better, but he had tears in his eyes too. It was just a sad SAD movie. Max was heart wrenchingly sad and lonely. The Wild Things were mostly very bleak--and downright nasty to one another and to Max. There are some serious passive aggressive tendencies in a couple of the Wild Things. I know it's art. I know life is not all sunshine and lollipops. But I would really have appreciated knowing how dark the subject matter was going to be before going. The previews that I saw showed nothing of the darkness--just beloved scenes from the books. And the monsters--the were visually stunning. My kids found nothing scary in the way they looked. What was frightening was their bleak behavior and their meanness toward each other. If I had any inkling of the intense emotions that were going to be covered in this movie, I would not have taken the kids. I might have gone to see it myself, but I would not have brought my children. But because I thought, children's book would equal children's movie, I took them, and as a result, my 5 year old cried for almost an hour and a half straight. (We did not leave, because I thought NOT seeing Max get home would be even more traumatic.) And I paid god money for the priviledge.
Teen, 15 years old Written bybjf15 June 9, 2014

I saw this a couple of years back and it is just the worst. A boy leaves his family and joins this group of monsters. I was bored, weirded out, and completely not interested. Only good part was the ending.

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