Wild at Heartby Roger Young / 07.01.2010
Make no mistake, Where The Wild Things Are is most definitely a children’s film but not one that contains sly sexual or pop culture references to entertain the adults. It is intellectually simple and emotionally complex and confusing, sometimes scary, sometimes wildly exuberant. So close does it come to evoking what I remembered of being a child that I felt deeply nostalgic for those childhood days and deeply grateful that they were past.
Max is a normal suburban boy, slightly frustrated from his mothers lack of attention and his older sisters callous treatment of him, he rebels, he is scolded and he runs away into the night. He runs through a forest and finds a boat and then sails away to an island, where he meets the Wild Things. They seem innocent and fun but, after he becomes their king he discovers they are a more complex than he first thought.
Wild Things is a film about the subconscious mind of a child and the fears that inhabit it. It’s light on plot and big on story, nuance and emotion. It’s entirely fitting and necessary that it was directed by the perpetual manchild Spike Jonze. Jonze’s music video lightness commands the joy of the film, for the darker aspects he accesses his New Jersey Turnpike mood. Wild Things is not entirely successful as a film in the sense that the lightness of plot leads to a bit of a midway rambling confusion but as an evocation of childhood emotions it is devastatingly spot on.
Starring Max Records, James Gandolfini and Catherine Keener.
Directed By Spike Jonze.