In a house of wild things…

Somewhere between Christmas, my MIL’s 70th, Oscar’s hospital stay, New Years, my back breakage and being BACK at hospital with Oscar and huge weeping blisters on his legs (sorry, had I mentioned that?) but before yesterday, we watched Where the Wild Things Are and well, quite frankly, it seems to have done something to my brain.

It is a book I, when I remember to can be bothered to  read to the boys before they go to bed, return to time and time again. It got shelved for a while because it freaked the hell out of Grover, a situation I found deeply ironic for the kid who calls everyone IDIOT! or poobumheadidiotbaby and will quite happily give a stranger smiling at him the dirtiest stink-eye while raising fists at anyone who so much as mutters ‘no’ in his general vicinity and WOE BETIDE if you threaten to remove the mouse from the computer.

Still we return to it.

And then there is the movie. I’m tempted to call it a masterpiece, for how it encapsulates so purely the extreme black and white confusion of childhood emotion. Of how complicated and endearing and flawed every single one of the characters is. Of their purity in what they represent. And of this boy, this boy trying to find his way and his place in the world.

It is innocent, funny, bone-crushingly sad, dangerous, foreboding, joyous and full of life.

It has left me with something, an ache is what it is. And that, to me, is how this movie feels, it feels like it’s aching.

Douglas: Will you keep out all the sadness?
Max: I have a sadness shield that keeps out all the sadness, and it’s big enough for all of us.

Being a person is so complicated.



Have you seen it? What did you think of it? Is there a movie that has stuck with you as this one has me?




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  • Narelle

    I loved the movie. I would never say it is a kids film. My daughter cried from beginning to end as it was so sad, she never found the happines at the end. It is beautifully written, filmed, acted and the soundtrack is amazing. I feel, as you said, it sums up everything about being a child. The rage, the confusion, the passion, the fun, the sadness and most importantly the happiness and love.

    • You know what, I think it and Hugo are really films about children or childhood but not films for children. By that I mean they’re no Toy Story. The boys have watched it twice – Jasper (6) is just mesmerised by the wild things and Felix (11) seems really taken with it.

  • Cat

    I liked that movie very much and when we watched it I called it lyrical. Bebito’s too small to watch (he adores the book) it but I agree with you, it’s about childhood not for children necessarily. what comes to mind are movies from when I was a teenager that I adored like Dead Poet’s Society and Europa Europa. As a (supposed) grown up, I cried through the whole screening of a movie called Kolya which is about a little boy & his Grandpa. Music has a big impact on me in those kinds of movies.
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  • Narelle

    I am really looking forward to watching Hugo. My girl Jordan, 12, isn’t sure she wants to see it as she has read the book and did’t get it (that was a few years ago). I can’t convince her to watch Where the Wild things are again. Everytime I mention it she starts about it being too sad. I think now that she is basically a teenager she would get a lot from the movie about staying young and enjoying yourself. And might also make her lighten up on her younger brother.

    My son, 9, isn’t keen on Hugo and the only thing he remembers about Where the Wild things Are is that the boy had Lego in his room. You know, the important details of the movie 😉 He is a sensitive soul, wonder what he woud now think of Wild Things.

    I remember posting about how wonder I though Wild Things were but reinforcing over and over again it wasn’t for kids. I think these movies need to be made though as us parents also need reminders of what it is like from the kids point of view.

  • I haven’t seen this, nor read the book, but I’m intrigued now and will look fot it.
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  • I agree with all of the above and would add the whole physical expression of emotion. I was struck but the way the monsters, like children (especially boys) walk a frightening line between physical play and doing great harm and how the desire to be embraced is itself dangerously close to being suffocated. Powerful. The whole landscape was also a mirror of that wildness within – the amazing sculpture made of logs, the darkness, oh goodness I could go on. And the whole working mother thing, trying to keep it together. Profound. Love it.

  • I must see this , feel for you …I only have two wild things and also 2 new wild thing puppies. Hope everything gets calmer , sooner.

  • oh I loved the movie. I’ve watched it twice on foxtel and cried and was amazed by it. My kids are too little to be interested in it (well that’s what I think as they lost interest) and then there is the music. Wow. So glad you liked it too

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  • I agree that movies *about* kids aren’t always good viewing *for* kids. On the other hand, sometimes movies targeted at kids are simply made to be entertainment without being thought-provoking or soul searching. It’s okay to push the boundaries with some kids, even if it brings tears.
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