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Where the Wild Things Are (2009)



Average Rating: 6.9/10
Reviews Counted: 256
Fresh: 186 | Rotten: 70

Some may find its dark tone and slender narrative off-putting, but Spike Jonze's heartfelt adaptation of the classic children's book is as beautiful as it is uncompromising.


Average Rating: 6.5/10
Critic Reviews: 50
Fresh: 32 | Rotten: 18

Some may find its dark tone and slender narrative off-putting, but Spike Jonze's heartfelt adaptation of the classic children's book is as beautiful as it is uncompromising.



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Average Rating: 3.3/5
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Movie Info

Visionary director Spike Jonze brings Maurice Sendak's beloved children's book to the big screen with the help of hipster icon Dave Eggers, who teamed with Jonze to pen the adapted screenplay. A mixture of real actors, computer animation, and live puppeteering, Where the Wild Things Are follows the adventures of a young boy named Max (Max Records) as he enters the world of the Wild Things, a race of strange and enormous creatures who gradually turn the young boy into their king. ~ Jason

Mar 2, 2010


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All Critics (258) | Top Critics (50) | Fresh (186) | Rotten (70) | DVD (6)

'Where the Wild Things Are' stands out for its unusually potent evocation of the timbre of childhood imagining, with its combination of the outré and the banal, grand schemes jumbled up with delicate feelings and the urge to smash things up.

December 11, 2009 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[Jonze has] achieved with the cinematic medium what Sendak did with words and pictures: He's grasped something true and terrifying about love at its most unconditional and voracious.

October 16, 2009
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Wild Things, you do not make my heart sing.

October 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Comments (11)
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Intellectually interesting, visually arresting and filled with invention, there's just one crucial thing Where the Wild Things Are is missing: wildness.

October 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Detroit News | Comments (5)
Detroit News
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Spike Jonze, we salute you.

October 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Denver Post | Comments (3)
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Director Spike Jonze gets that Max's subsequent journey to the far-off island of the wild things is nothing less than an odyssey into his mind.

October 16, 2009 | Comment (1)
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Unnecessarily gloomy and emotionally convoluted, Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers' script for Where the Wild Things Are is a melancholy adaptation of the one-two punch that is the heavily illustrated, scantly written book by Maurice Sendak.

March 5, 2014 Full Review Source: Stop Smiling
Stop Smiling

Does leave a lingering impression--but more due to the nagging feeling that it never quite connects than to Jonze actually meeting his grandiose thematic ambitions.

January 27, 2014 Full Review Source:

Spike Jonze adapted a book with less than 200 words into a 90-minute feature and it's simply wonderful.

August 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Gordon and the Whale
Gordon and the Whale

What Spike Jonze is doing is trying something completely new, messing with the idea of what exactly a movie is, what a narrator is, what a filmmaker is, really, and doing it with a beloved franchise and a $80 million budget.

June 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Deadspin

Jonze has created a world in which even "wild things" can be full of personality and fun to be around.

September 24, 2012 Full Review Source:

Stretches to spectacular, big-screen proportions the soaring, roaring fancy of Maurice Sendak's classic 1963 bedtime tale.

September 29, 2011 Full Review Source: American Profile
American Profile

It's kind of astonishing when something this odd slips through the cracks of the Hollywood mainstream.

April 4, 2011 Full Review Source:

If you want something light and fluffy to take the kids to see, you're better off looking elsewhere.

February 3, 2011 Full Review Source: What Culture
What Culture

It's almost as if they were afraid to redefine the book, and left things as free-floating and ambiguous as possible. ... it's all meandering, abstract non-story that isn't helped by the muddy color palette

January 31, 2011 Full Review Source: Las Vegas CityLife | Comment (1)

This is not a coming-of-age film. It's an end-of-innocence film. And that makes every moment, be it funny or sad, so beautiful and so heartbreaking at the same time. You'll want to hug it and hold onto it, as if it were your childhood sailing away.

October 27, 2010 Full Review Source: Quickflix

If you ever laughed uncontrollably while engaged in a childhood snowball fight, built intricate forts out of your grandmother's afghan blankets, or made up the rules to complex playground games, in the middle of the game, then this film is for you.

July 4, 2010 Full Review Source: DCist | Comment (1)

A beautiful and languid testament to the importance of remembering how powerful our childhoods really were.

April 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Fan The Fire | Comments (2)
Fan The Fire

Never having read the book, it must be better than this.

April 7, 2010 Full Review Source: | Comments (11)

For me, it was a hard, uphill climb just to say I'd reached the top.

February 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis | Comment (1)
Movie Metropolis

Sendak sums up the joy and miracle of creative passion, even as he acknowledges dreaded mortality lurking in the existential shadows.

February 16, 2010 Full Review Source: NewsBlaze | Comment (1)

Where the Wild Things Are imaginatively evokes the childhood fears and wonders experienced when trying to make sense of the world.

January 31, 2010 Full Review Source: Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

Uma espécie de "Anticristo" Jr., o filme abraça o universo psicológico de seu protagonista como estrutura narrativa, levando o espectador para uma viagem por vezes perturbadora - mas sempre tocante - à psique de Max.

January 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena | Comment (1)
Cinema em Cena

The conversations and interactions [Jonze] orchestrates, whether real, imaginary, spoken with an inner voice, or cried aloud, are delivered with the unmistakable rhythm and in the grandiose rubber and glue terminology of children.

January 6, 2010 Full Review Source: | Comments (2)

Bring the Prozac . . .

December 29, 2009 | Comments (11)

It's a divisive and sometimes difficult film, but if you let it into your heart, you'll end up grateful.

December 22, 2009 Full Review Source: SFX Magazine
SFX Magazine

Audience Reviews for Where the Wild Things Are

Often moody and somber, Spike Jonze's 'Where the Wild Things Are' is strangely an emotionally hefty film. The pathos created is unexpected, but captures the tone of the film well. I've never seen a film so vividly encompass the emotional roller coaster we call childhood. A great soundtrack and amazing imagery definitely work in the movie's favor. A solid film, but it ends on a note that really isn't too upbeat, which is surprising for a film about a children's book. Jonze has definitely captured the soul of childhood, but the real question is whether or not he can capture his audience.
December 6, 2012
Kase Vollebregt

Super Reviewer

Its a great Spike Jonze film! The music by Karen O. gives a playful tone for one of the most imaginative films of 2009. Even though the film wraps itself in catharsis behavior which leads to dark scenes for a PG film, there is a heartwarming feeling of nostalgia left at the end of this wonderful piece of cinema.
September 18, 2012
paul o.
paul oh

Super Reviewer


I didn't enjoy Where The Wild Things are the first time I saw it, probably because it was so unexpected. I've watched it since and im proud to say that I did enjoy it the second time round. Its far from perfect but it's perfection for telling a story that isn't coming of age but the end of one's innocence.
April 2, 2012
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Not to sound unprofessional but i want one of them monsters.
March 24, 2012

Super Reviewer

    1. KW: Step on my head.
    2. Carol: No. Forget it. I'm not going to step on your head...just to make you feel better.
    – Submitted by Rex John A (3 months ago)
    1. KW: Don't go. I'll eat you up, love you so.
    – Submitted by Shen S (10 months ago)
    1. Douglas: Will you keep out all the sadness?
    2. Max: I have a sadness shield that keeps out all the sadness, and it's big enough for all of us.
    – Submitted by Typhon Q (19 months ago)
    1. Carol: I don't apologize to owls. Owls are stupid.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
    1. Judith: Happiness isn't always the best way to be happy.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
View all quotes (5)

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May 8, 2012:
Maurice Sendak: 1928-2012
Celebrate the award-winning author's career by watching Spike Jonze's documentary about his life.
December 11, 2009:
The Effects of Where the Wild Things Are
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Foreign Titles

  • Wo die wilden Kerle wohnen (DE)
  • Max et les maximonstres (FR)
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