Friday, October 23, 2009

Wild Things, you make my heart sing

If you are interested in children, strong emotions, coping with loss, group dynamics, or puppets and special affects, run, don't walk to see Where the Wild Things Are. I've also read two recent excellent stories on Spike Jonze, the director. This is the GQ one, and here's the NY Times magazine. And here's a link to a Newsweek interview with Sendak, Jonze, and Dave Eggers, who cowrote the screenplay with Jonze.

This is what he says to GQ that I really love:

“As a kid, that was really scary and confusing—both the wild emotions in me and the wild emotions in the people around me,” he says. “Unpredictable emotions, positive or negative—you don’t know where they’re coming from, you don’t know what they mean. Especially negative emotions. Your own behavior—you don’t know why you’re acting a certain way and it scares you, or you don’t know why somebody else is acting a certain way and it scares you. Big emotions that are unexplained are really scary. At least to me.

I guess it’s anger, or sadness, guilt—or guilt for being angry, you know. Just the whole big mess that we’re sort of thrown into. Emotions are messy and hard to figure out. Hard to know where you start and the next person stops. Even as an adult, that’s a hard thing to know. As a kid it can be really confusing, because it’s all new and you’re trying to sort of make your map.”

Be forewarned, it's not a kids movie, per se. As Jonze says, it's about emotions and how scary they can be. A parent said to me, it's not as scary as Coraline, but has its moments. The Wild Things are really wild, they howl and yell and rip up trees and do giant leaps and throw dirt at each other and cry and jump into a big pile and sleep. They have very real, very strong emotions that are right out there. It can be intense. That's what I loved about it. This movie, and the book, are very, very real, and that's a very, very good thing, especially when your kids is mature enough to handle it.

I insisted we go as a family and I think Lily got it and enjoyed it. She's reading the Clique books, god help us -- I see no need to censor her and promised myself I won't; I read The Godfather when I was her age -- and we had a little discussion about the differences between the two groups. "The Clique would go, 'ew, dust on my shoes!'" she said, imitating them in a funny voice. I keep commenting on how mean the Clique girls are. The Wild Things are not mean. Just BIG and WILD. Times a thousand.

I also read Lily that Jonze quote, above, and she talked about when she gets angry. She says she wishes she had a room she could destroy when she's mad and then it would be all picked up and perfect the next time she goes into it. I think we're getting her a punching bag for her birthday.

My friends said to see it on the big screen, and I agree with that. Definitely see it; don't delay. It's got very rich production values -- the sound, the color, the texture, the environment, the costumes. It's very evocative and powerful. I howled all the way home and Dave woke Lily up this morning by howling.

1 comment:

  1. My girl loved it (saw it twice) and the boy thought it was creepy.

    I took a nap

    But Mr Fox was Fantastic!!!


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