That term first came to my mind when, as a child, I’d try to say “stream of consciousness” and end up with “brainflow.” It seems to fit here.

Welcome to the ramblings of my mind. (For now, these ones revolve mostly around films.)

Where the Wild Things Are

Monday, October 19th, 2009 1:37 pm—Film

Where the Wild Things Are (USA 2009, Adventure/Drama/Fantasy), Writers: Spike Jonze, Dave Eggers; Director: Spike Jonze

Spike Jonze’s adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s beloved children’s book, Where the Wild Things Are, leaps onto the screen with the energy and spirit of children everywhere playing in parks, forts and snow banks. The writer/director has created a magical world on par with those places where your shadow can suddenly leave you behind and take off on wild adventures; where you can spiral down a tunnel and wind up in an alternate realm full of mysterious creatures; where nameless strangers pass by through dappled light and share whispers that change your day, your view, your life.

This is the world where the Wild Things are, and I don’t want to spoil it by saying too much. You shouldn’t really read about it, anyway; you have to experience it.

The film beautifully captures the whimsy and fancy of childhood, but also the frustration that comes when you’re young and small and feel that no one hears you no matter how loudly you scream. Young Max (Max Records) needs to escape his world because his emotions are too big for anyone to understand, including him. So he goes to a place where he can finally make sense of them—where the Wild Things are.

As someone who spent much of their childhood living in make-believe worlds where other humans didn’t exist or couldn’t see me, I very much related to Where the Wild Things Are, and very much loved it. There are so many fun, inventive characters who enliven the film with their random comments—the kind you feel could only be spoken by someone “real,” they’re so off-the-cuff.

But the film also makes room for more somber, reflective touches; both Max’s worlds, real and imagined, feature beautifully observed moments of stillness. There are two in particular shared between Max and his mother (played by the wonderful Catherine Keener) that are lovely, insightful and poignantly bittersweet—one where he tries to express himself by inventing a story about vampires, the other at the film’s conclusion.

Where the Wild Things Are is dark and colourful; sad and joyful; brilliant, powerful and hopeful. It’s a magical story, beautifully told. You should go and see it for yourself.

* * *

To my very own Wild Things, who always saw me even when I was in hiding—SM, DT, AD, JC, HS.

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