October 17, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

All four of us went out into the cold and wet to see Where the Wild Things Are. The boys are now 9 and 11. Younger Son is still very immature for his age. He thinks everything is "too scary." He thinks Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Ware-Rabbit is too scary. He was concerned about seeing this movie. He was right.

The film adaptation is marvelous. It captures the truest essence of the book and the rawest emotions of childhood. At each small emotional pitfall Younger Son let out a little empathetic moan of concern. Eventually he came into my lap and watched the movie from there as I reassured him that, just like in the book, everything would be all right in the end. Sadly the mother of a sobbing four year old in front of us tried to keep her in the theater for the whole film, giving up far too late in the game. I saw at least two other families with very small children leave pretty early on in the movie. It is rated PG and it is strong stuff.

At some point during the movie, as Max ran through a forest in search of an angry Wild Thing, Younger Son said, to no one in particular, "That's what it's like when [best friend] hides from me." After the film I had a little time before bed to sit with each of my sons and talk about the movie and to talk about feelings in a way we haven't in a very long time.

This is not your standard kids' movie. This is a movie about the real, true feelings of childhood. It's about sadness, anger and loneliness and about love, family and friendship. I thought it was extraordinary. Not only did it do justice to the book, it expanded and enlightened it in a fresh, gorgeous and heartfelt way.

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