Where the Wild Things Are

2009 PG 1h 34m Blu-ray / DVD

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Where the Wild Things Are

2009 PG 1h 34m Blu-ray / DVD
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Max (Max Records) imagines running away from his mom and sailing to a far-off land where large talking beasts -- Ira, Carol, Douglas, the Bull, Judith and Alexander -- crown him as their king, play rumpus, build forts and discover secret hideaways. Producer Tom Hanks and director Spike Jonze bring Maurice Sendak's whimsical story to life with the voice talents of James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener, Forest Whitaker and Catherine O'Hara.
Blu-ray DVD
Widescreen Anamorphic 2.40:1
English SDH, French, Spanish (Neutral)
English: Dolby Digital 5.1, French: Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish (Neutral): Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Anamorphic 2.40:1
English SDH, French, Spanish (Neutral)
English: DTS 5.1 HD, French: Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish (Neutral): Dolby Digital 5.1
PG - Some material may not be suitable for children. Parents urged to give parental guidance. May contain some material parents might not like for their young children.
age 9+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 9+
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age 9+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that director Spike Jonze's adaptation of Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are isn't appropriate for younger kids, even those who adore the book (there's a big difference between looking at a beautifully illustrated children's story and watching a live-action movie full of sights and sounds that will probably scare the average 4-year-old). The movie explores mature themes of loneliness, insecurity, and fear of change, both within Max's human family and the one he finds on his adventure. The island that Max lands on can be a scary and dark place, and the Wild Things themselves aren't above threatening (repeatedly) to eat Max, as well as becoming hot-headed and destructive (and when a Wild Thing gets destructive, it can be quite intense). The movie also has a slower, dreamier feel than many other kids' movies, and relationships and storylines aren't always neatly resolved. There's some mild language ("damn," "stupid") and a quick glimpse of Max's mom and her boyfriend drinking wine and kissing, but otherwise the PG rating is due mostly to Max's occasionally frightful time with the mysterious Wild Things.

Sexual Content

Max's mother has a man over for dinner who seems to be her boyfriend. They drink wine and kiss briefly. Ira and Judith act like a couple -- alternately bickering and acting protective of each other.


The Wild Things, especially Carol, can act out of control, smashing things, burning things, and threatening to eat Max before he's crowned their king. The whole group also participates in a somewhat intense dirt-clod "war," in which some characters are injured, as well as in a very rambunctious "wild rumpus," in which trees are knocked down, characters, fall, etc. Max himself acts out of control in some early scenes, angrily trashing his sister's room and yelling at his mom. During Max's boat trip to the island, a thunderstorm makes him fall in the water, and he struggles in the waves for several seconds. The movie's overall mood is dark, from the washed-out lighting to the at-times haunting score.


Occasional use of mild swear words/expletives like "damn," "hell," and "stupid." "God" used as an exclamation.

Social Behavior

The movie's messages are more complex than in many other films about/targeted at children. The positive messages include Max helping the Wild Things (for a while anyway) solve some of their problems, come together as a tribe, act more inclusively toward KW's owl friends, and have more fun with each other. There's also an uplifting take-away about the importance of going home and the powerful bond between mother and child. But along the way, characters can be cruel to each other and hurt one another's feelings, both by accident and intentionally. And the movie doesn't shy away from difficult themes like loneliness, fear, and insecurity.


Not applicable

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

In one brief scene, Max's mother and her boyfriend are shown drinking wine before dinner.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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