I am not a religious person and I never have been. As a kid, I hated going to church (although bible drills brought out my competitive side), and I haven’t really been to a service since high school. For the last two decades, I’ve only set foot inside cathedrals and basilicas and synagogues to take photographs — and pretty lousy ones at that.
However, I do have a sort of moral code or a guiding principle — whatever you want to call it. Not to get too hippie-fied, but basically, I think that the best that anyone can do is to be kind. Like Dorian Corey said, life is rough. It’s an ordeal just to get through it. In my opinion, our responsibility is to make the trip easier, happier, more comfortable for others.
And remarkably, that is what Where the Wild Things Are is all about.
And that is nearly all it’s about, with one notable exception, which also happens to be one of my core concerns: how are we supposed to make life easier for friends and strangers when everyone keeps moving? Someone’s always dying, changing, shifting locales. It’s heartbreaking. There’s no fixing it. Sometimes, I just want to shout, “Be still!”, but that’s silly. And I don’t shout much anyway.
One last thing worth noting about the film: screenwriter Dave Eggers’ ability to think like a child. The way kids speak emotionally; the way their rationale is grounded in feelings and not what we ordinarily think of as logic; the way children keep everying right on the surface; their utter lack of guile: he captured it, and beautifully. I shouldn’t have expected less, but Eggers and Jonze and everyone else and everything else have created another world — albeit one that’ll look very familiar to anyone who’s ever been six.
So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that Where the Wild Things Are is profound, moving, and I wouldn’t take anyone under the age of 18 anywhere near it. It’s terribly depressing.
I did have some complaints about the lighting, and the twee soundtrack occasionally made it feel like I was watching the world’s longest Toyota ad, and James Gandolfini’s voice took a bit of getting used to. But still: go. Go.