Sometimes a movie snatches your heart in its mammoth claw for 101 minutes and there’s nothing you can do but jostle through its forest of emotion. Such was the case with Where The Wild Things Are. I loved the book and was curious how it would translate to film, even though my friends warned me that its melancholy level rivaled Bambi’s. I was tempted, at the last minute, to avoid certain sadness and dart into the adjacent theater for The Gloved One’s final moonwalks, but I stayed the course. Spike Jonze deftly and fearlessly commandeered a journey through the volatile imagination of a troubled child.
As a young girl trying to cope with my parents’ divorce I often drenched myself in solitude. I created my own impenetrable universe filled with daydreams and blankets and stuffed animals. In the first ten minutes, this film opened the secret door and beckoned me back into my fort. Those old stomach-pit feelings of sorrow and escapism came barreling back. Yes, the animatronics were breathtaking, the acting was outstanding, and Karen O’s soundtrack was gorgeously uninhibited. But the adaptation of a 1963 children’s story into a raw, poetic exploration of a child’s mind was a brave reminder to respect our youngsters.