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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: December 11, 2009 @ 3:54 pm

    Why they’re all wrong about the Wild Things

    Fiona McCann

    Nobody I’ve met so far has been particularly positive about Where the Wild Things Are. Reading lukewarm reviews complaining it’s too hip, too unstructured, too scary/dull for kids, too sacrilegious, too tedious, too Spike, too meh, I wonder if I saw the same film at all. Here’s my colleague Donald Clark’s take on it, not exactly a glowing review. All I can say is I disagree. Well, not all I can say, clearly, as here I go: This is probably the first film I’ve seen in my adult life that brought home to me how the sensitivies and fears of my childhood were a natural part of growing up, and went hand in hand with the wild joys I remember too of being a kid. Max is utterly convincing – heartbreakingly so – as a young child struggling with demons within that become the charming, out of control and tender demons without. It’s frightening, it’s exhilarating, it’s astoundingly empathic and it’s my favourite film of this year so far. And yes, I’ve seen the White Ribbon too.  Am I alone in finding something splendid there? Over to you . . .

    • I’d say the reviews have actually been pretty good, Fiona.


      I think it’s me that’s standing alone — or, at least, amid a small group — sulking joylessly in the car park.

    • Fiona says:

      Donald: Point taken – maybe I just like to paint myself as the lone ranger fighting injustice! Mind you, Irish reviewers weren’t positive – the lot from the View were unenamoured, according to one that I ran into last night. The Guardianers were pretty lukewarm as well, though went as far as three stars each. And only three in Hot Press too . . .

    • Q says:

      You’re not alone. I think it’s the best film of the year. It captures the chaos and mayhem of being a kid, brilliantly. James Galdofini’s voice becomes the most beautiful melancholic sound in this film: the sadness in his expression after one of Carol’s jealous rages is heartbreaking.

      Plus, Bob and Terry!

    • Major Alfonso says:

      the sadness in his expression after one of Carol’s jealous rages is heartbreaking.

      I’m looking forward to this, but I’m expecting it to be more like the Squid and the Whale than Bambi at this point!

    • Katie says:

      I had mixed feelings about this movie. Not having read the book, I assumed the story was going to end somewhere uplifting. It was more a movie about childhood then a movie for children. I’m going to read the book now to confirm, but I suspect a more metaphorical then literal reading of the joys and sorrows faced when struggling with demons would have been better.

    • Deirdre says:

      I’m relieved to read your response to the film, Fiona. Yes, its hipster appendages will appeal to modish Brooklynites, but the film’s core is delicately wrought (the subtlety of the creatures’ facial expresions is a marvel) and genuinely moving – to dismiss it with such sweeping cynicism as Donald Clarke has done is unfair in my opinion.

      Now, let’s all go make a fort.

    • Finn Hynes says:

      Apparently I promised the boy I would go and see this… really looking forward to it now! Loved ‘Coraline’ for the same resons you outline: scary childhood demons set in fantastical alter-reality.

    • Sweary says:

      I cannot wait to see this movie, and your post just reminded me why. Everything I’ve read about it intrigues me.

      We’re planning on bringing our smallie with us; she’s eight today. On one level I worry that she’ll be as bemused or bothered or bored by the film as some reviews suggest. On another, I remember that she’s into Talking Heads and the Discovery Channel, so she just might be “cool” enough to humour me on this one.

    • Shane says:

      Sweary, Don’t expect your eight year old to get it. It’s not a kids film at all. You’ll probably have a whole load of questions to answer after it.

    • Kevin H O Rourke says:

      My children are too intelligent for such garbage

    • Tiggles says:

      Found the film depressing and felt the uplifting trailer to be quite misleading. Wouldn’t recommend it as a film suiteable for young children.

    • Keith says:

      Really enjoyed it. It felt utterly familiar to my memory of how being a kid was. The Guardian reviews varied from lukewarm to….lukewarm actually. English Times pooh poohed it…

      I felt it caught the ill equipedness of being a kid perfectly, with all that entails.

      Maybe I was just an ill equipped kid?

    • sue says:

      Max was an all time favourite with our sons when they were little. They are now 21 and 24. Our kids were intelligent enough to recognize themselves in Max’s antics and to marvel at the chaos. Wild things…now College graduates. Great book, hope the movie lives up to the book,

    • says:

      no you are not alone, its is an excellent story.

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