Christian Living


Where the Wild Things Are: Movie Review

Star Rating

Movie Info


PG for mild thematic elements, some adventure action and brief language.


Family, Adaptation


October 16, 2009


Max Records, Catherine Keener, Mark Ruffalo, Lauren Ambrose, Chris Cooper


Spike Jonze


Warner Bros. Pictures

CBN is not endorsing the films or TV shows CBN.com reviews. Our goal is to provide information about the latest in entertainment, both the good and the bad, so you may make an informed decision as to what is appropriate for you and your families.

Who can forget Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s book, Where the Wild Things Are? Since its first printing in the 1960s, Sendak’s book has enchanted children with the tale of a mischievous little boy named Max.

The beloved story is now on the big screen thanks to the inspired work of director Spike Jonze, and his gifted cast and crew. This team of storytellers breathes life into this short story turning it into a heart-warming film fit for families to enjoy together.


Max is a troublesome, yet sensitive, boy who deep down wants to be loved and accepted by his mother and sister. Emotions get the best of them, and he runs away from home. Max's imagination knows no boundaries, and his flight from his family leads him on his greatest adventure yet -- to where the Wild Things are. Desperate for a leader, the Wild Things crown him "King of the Whole World." Max soon discovers, though, that ruling his new kingdom isn't easy, pushing him to work out his problems with those he loves.


Going into the film, moviegoers may be suckered into thinking this is just a light-hearted movie about a little kid with a big heart and even bigger imagination. Wrong. It's much deeper than that, and thank goodness it is. Too often, book-based movies fall flat because they end up being a bit superficial, like they're just scratching the surface of what the story was meant to be. Granted, Where the Wild Things Are is about a page worth of text making it very difficult for the full-length motion picture to be at all shallow. However, Jonze went above and beyond tugging at the heart issues inside Max's story -- loneliness, rejection, pain, relationships, love, and forgiveness. His spot-on direction helped mold the movie in such a natural way that makes it almost believable. Don't be surprised if you look over and see your kids - and even your husband - shed some tears.

Young actor Max Records, who plays Max, holds his own as he portrays the rambunctious little king living among the Wild Things. His talent is evident in his geninue emotion as interacts with his new friend, Carol. Jonze had a phenomenal cast working with him on this project, including Catherine Keener, Mark Ruffalo, James Gandolfini, Forest Whitaker, and more. Assisting on the movie's score was Carter Burwell, a well-known musician in the biz, and Karen O. from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Coupled with the incredibly moving cinematography and well-written script, the music sets the perfect tone for Max's harrowing adventure.


Where the Wild Things Are is rated PG for mild thematic elements, some adventure action, and brief language (three obscentities and one profanity). Its sincere telling of Max's incredibly fun and enlightening story makes it a must-see for families. Caution: young children may be frightened of the fighting and intense stormy sea scenes.

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