3 things about Spike Jonze’s WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE

Where the Wild Things Are [2009]

1. To get her attention he tugs at the toe of her pantyhose.
2. He draws a line in the sand around the monster’s foot.
3. “That was my favorite arm!”

I had read that Jonze studied Cassavetes very carefully while he was making the film, but I was unprepared for exactly how Cassavetes-like it really is. The dialog is wonderfully messy and obtuse. It doesn’t come out in ready-to-digest nuggets of expression like in so many movies. That this is a “kid’s” movie makes that even more remarkable. Yet I agree with what Andy said last night: regardless of what the characters are saying, and how elliptical it may be, each and every moment is emotionally clear. That’s why I think audiences of all ages will be able to get into it. We don’t give kids enough credit for being able to recognize and tap into these things.

And the way the characters behave is just like in a movie by Cassavetes: too boisterous, almost violent, with volatile feelings that can change on a dime. Joy is a only a half-step from anger, or sadness.

It’s an intimate, complex movie. Purposefully small scale. The perfect length. I’ll definitely see it again. I want to pick up on some of the things I missed the first time. It creates a world you want to live in for awhile.

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