FILM: Review: Where The Wild Things Are

Written by Jordan Petersen on . Posted in Film


Our young hero, crowned.

Dreams are predominantly crafted by the subconscious. Yeah, okay, you knew that. But here’s something most of us probably don’t really think about — the subconscious is your inner-child.

When something makes us feel like a kid again, it’s causing the deepest parts of us to respond. That murky, unknown world of under-thought starts dumping stuff into your conscious brain at a rate that knocks you off your idiomatic feet.

It is very, very rare that watching a film makes me feel like I’m dreaming. And in my experience, there are no films like Where the Wild Things Are.

Here is a film that endows its impossible characters with lines that shouldn’t make any sense at all, but do. Characters that speak, with paralyzing authenticity, the words of children, and whose actions are entirely motivated by the nebulous logic of the very young.

The story of this film is very much like a frenetic, creative, unbridled little boy. In the beginning, he delights. But after a very short introduction, he startles. And then he keeps everyone in a state of entertained confusion, until near the end, when he actually manages to frighten. Finally, however, he becomes decryptable, and we realize that we just watched him grow up a little bit and get a whole lot wiser than we could have guessed.

It’s a remarkable film. I left the theater off-balance. I didn’t realize how deeply I had managed to bury my “inner child” until I saw him unleashed on a giant screen for two hours. How sadly unlike him I have become.

Childhood is beautiful and we lose so much of what makes it beautiful so fast. I think that everyone should go see this movie. Everyone. I can’t believe that I would not have been deeply affected by this film as a child. It would have been my film. It is a children’s film, but in an entirely uncommon sense — big people ought to see it to better understand the littler ones. There aren’t many of those around. Even Pixar tells stories like a parent with a talent for storytelling. And Disney… well, Disney is sort of like Taco Bell: everything is made with the same three ingredients.

This probably isn’t the most powerful or important film you’ll see this year, but color me stupid if it isn’t worth a bump up to the top of your “what should I watch next” list.

Jordan Petersen is a film correspondent for Rhombus.


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