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Where the Wild Things Are (2009)

PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family  |  16 October 2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 84,484 users   Metascore: 71/100
Reviews: 383 user | 330 critic | 37 from Metacritic.com

Yearning for escape and adventure, a young boy runs away from home and sails to an island filled with creatures that take him in as their king.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 7 wins & 44 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Pepita Emmerichs ...
Max Pfeifer ...
Claire's Friend
Madeleine Greaves ...
Claire's Friend
Joshua Jay ...
Claire's Friend
Claire's Friend
Carol (voice)
Vincent Crowley ...
Alexander (voice)
Sonny Gerasimowicz ...
Judith (voice)


A young boy named Max has an active imagination, and he will throw fits if others don't go along with what he wants. Max - following an incident with Claire (his sister) and her friends, and following a tantrum which he throws as a result of his Mother paying more attention to her boyfriend than to him - runs away from home. Wearing his wolf costume at the time, Max not only runs away physically, but runs toward a world in his imagination. This world, an ocean away, is inhabited by large wild beasts, including one named Carol who is much like Max himself in temperament. Instead of eating Max like they normally would with creatures of his type, the wild things befriend Max after he proclaims himself a king who can magically solve all their problems. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


I could eat you up, I love you so. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild thematic elements, some adventure action and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |


Release Date:

16 October 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

More Rice  »

Box Office


$100,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$32,695,407 (USA) (16 October 2009)


$77,222,184 (USA) (5 February 2010)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Warner Bros. feared that the film was not family friendly and may frighten children; however these fears were not shared by either Spike Jonze or Maurice Sendak, and Jonze refused to compromise. See more »


In the early scenes in which Max is outside playing in the snow, there are leaves on the trees and roses in bloom. You can't see his breath in the air and it doesn't fog the window. If you look closely in some shots, you can see a light fog in the air created by the cold manufactured snow on a warm day. See more »


[first lines]
Max: Hey, Claire. Wanna see something great?
Claire: [on the phone] Who else was there?
Max: It's an igloo! I made it.
Claire: Yeah, my brother.
Max: Hey, Claire!
Claire: I can't. We're supposed to go to my dad's that weekend.
Max: The snowplows left some snow across the street, and I dug a hole into it.
Claire: Go and play with your friends.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The logos for Warner Bros., Legendary Pictures, and Village Roadshow Pictures are covered with Max's scribblings. See more »


Featured in DR2 Premiere: Episode #4.1 (2010) See more »


Rumpus Reprise
Written by Karen O, Imaad Wasif, and Bradford Cox
Produced by Karen O and Tom Biller (as tbiller)
Performed by Karen O (as Karen O) and the Kids
Courtesy of DGC/Interscope Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Brilliant film if sadness and hopelessness was its intent.
21 October 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Last night we went to see Spike Jonez's film adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. I can't say that the film was bad. Considering that everyone in our party, who ranged in age from 7 to 42, had an incredibly strong reaction to it, I have to admit that it probably is quite good. It doesn't mean however, that any of us liked it. None of us did.

As a child, I found the book a little creepy and maybe even sad, but the last images, those of Max returning to his own room on the very night that he had left it and finding his supper, left for him still warm, redeemed some of the angst of the book. Those last few lines left this little reader feeling relieved and hopeful that tomorrow would be a better day for young Max. The film offered no such relief from the considerable gloom and sadness it inflicted.

In fact, Jonez's adaptation was overwhelmingly sad from beginning to end. Worse, there was a weighty hopelessness to it all. Jonez's characters, whether human or monster were so wholly deficient that they appear forever locked in a cycle of longing for love, understanding and acceptance without any apparent means to make it happen. Not one of them presented the strength in character to make those slight alterations of growth and understanding that would break the barrier and connect with the very creature standing next to him, who although desirous of the exact same thing, is somehow rendered unreachable.

The effect was so powerful that even the chatty, joyful eight year old girl in our group left the theater legitimately depressed, an emotion that is completely new to her. If the director's intention was to leave his audience with this level of hopelessness, then the film is brilliant. I myself will not be purchasing the DVD.

68 of 106 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Max - Autistic? Jarvio
Awful! harald-465-809097
Is this why some people don't like WTWTA? streakyfuzzer
Did anyone else hate the kid in the movie? dustin1280
how long was he gone? sverre-1
Whose idea was this? drnossal
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