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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 84,547 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


Let the wild rumpus start! 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?


Sonny Gerasimowicz, who designed the Wild Things, wound up being the suit performer for Alexander the Goat Boy. See more »


When Max jumps on K.W, Carol jumps toward them and K.W. says "Max look out." Max never told them his name. They just called him "King". 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 »


Worried Shoes
Written by Daniel Johnston
Produced by Karen O and Tom Biller (as tbiller)
Performed by Karen O and the Kids
Courtesy of DGC/Interscope Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Review: Where the Wild Things Are
17 October 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Plot Synopsis: Adapted from Sendak's beloved children's book, the story follows Max (Records), a young boy experiencing both the joys and loneliness of childhood. After a fight with his mother (Keener), Max runs away; a wild rumpus ensues.

In the years since principal photography wrapped, Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are has become notorious for its turbulent production. After seeing Jonze's first cut, the studio considered re-shooting the entire film, feeling that it was too dark to attract the audiences an 80 million dollar budget normally justifies. Apparently they were expecting something along the lines of Beverly Hills Chihuahua, not a poignant, complex journey into the mind of a young boy.

It's not a coincidence that Sendak refused to allow any adaptation of his story to enter production until he had hand picked Jonze to direct, feeling the director was the only one up to the task of capturing the subtle sensibilities of his classic tale. The end result is mesmerizing. Jonze's creation is a masterful piece of art, both visually arresting and exquisitely affecting. You will never see boyhood captured as truthfully on film as it is in the film's first 20 minutes. Its richness only increases when Max runs away, the events of his odyssey reflecting the depths of his psyche.

The film is as visually stunning as anything released this or any other year. The images are paired beautifully with the tone of the story, a goal many filmmakers strive for but seldom accomplish. Striking images only carry a film so far, and it's Max that gives the film its heart. Records delivers an exceptional performance in a truly complex role; he masterfully exposes Max's inner pensiveness, expressing a range of emotions most adult actors strive to demonstrate their whole careers.

Those who know me are undoubtedly aware that Sendak's book holds a special place in my heart. If anything, my feelings about the film are indicative of its successes, and should not be read as the words of a fanboy who would have adored the film regardless of its content. My expectations were astronomical, and the fact that the film exceeded those expectations are a true measure of its brilliance. It soars to heights I never could have imagined.

116 of 184 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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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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