'Where the Wild Things Are' Critic Reviews

84%
MovieWeb:   20 reviews
73%
Rotten Tomatoes:   260 reviews
  • Lisa Schwarzbaum Entertainment Weekly (Top Critic)
    92
    Profoundly beautiful and affecting, Where the Wild Things Are is a breath-
taking act of artistic transubstantiation.
    Full Review » 5 years ago
  • Manohla Dargis New York Times (Top Critic)
    70
    Where the Wild Things Are is an alternately perfect and imperfect if always beautiful adaptation of the Maurice Sendak children's book.
    Full Review » 5 years ago
  • Jeannette Catsoulis New York Times (Top Critic)
    80
    Anyone looking for some idiosyncratic, visually stimulating entertainment this week could do worse than Where Is Where?
    Full Review » 5 years ago
  • Peter Bradshaw Guardian [UK] (Top Critic)
    60
    Jonze's Wild Things is an altogether darker, colder picture: a film about the way children can lose their fear of the world only by losing their innocence.
    Full Review » 5 years ago
  • Claudia Puig USA Today (Top Critic)
    88
    Where the Wild Things Are is a fiercely innovative film with surprising texture and nuance. It captures the joy and exuberance of childhood without shying away from its very real pains and woes.
    Full Review » 5 years ago
  • Ann Hornaday Washington Post (Top Critic)
    [Jonze has] achieved with the cinematic medium what Sendak did with words and pictures: He's grasped something true and terrifying about love at its most unconditional and voracious.
    Full Review » 5 years ago
  • Ty Burr Boston Globe (Top Critic)
    75
    The movie is a wild thing, and that's not such a bad thing at all.
    Full Review » 5 years ago
  • J. Hoberman Village Voice (Top Critic)
    Wild Things isn't overlong, but it is underwhelming.
    Full Review » 5 years ago
  • Joe Neumaier New York Daily News (Top Critic)
    80
    The film treats kids' inner lives as more than a fantasy, which is a rare and beautiful thing.
    Full Review » 5 years ago
  • Joe Morgenstern Wall Street Journal (Top Critic)
    Where the Wild Things Are honors the book in every imaginable way, and in ways no one could have imagined until Spike Jonze and his collaborators came along.
    Full Review » 5 years ago
  • Nancy Churnin Dallas Morning News (Top Critic)
    90
    Director Spike Jonze gets that Max's subsequent journey to the far-off island of the wild things is nothing less than an odyssey into his mind.
    Full Review » 5 years ago
  • Lisa Kennedy Denver Post (Top Critic)
    88
    Spike Jonze, we salute you.
    Full Review » 5 years ago
  • James Rocchi MSN Movies (Top Critic)
    90
    "Where the Wild Things Are" is a great film because, for all of its wonder and magic and delight, it also knows about confusion and reality and sadness.
    Full Review » 5 years ago
  • David Edelstein New York Magazine (Top Critic)
    Instead of being bombarded by computer illusions, we're allowed to suspend our disbelief, to bring our own imaginations into play. For all the artfulness, the feel of the film is rough-hewn, almost primitive. It's a fabulous tree house of a movie.
    Full Review » 5 years ago
  • David Denby New Yorker (Top Critic)
    I have a vision of eight-year-olds leaving the movie in bewilderment. Why are the creatures so unhappy?
    Full Review » 5 years ago
  • Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times (Top Critic)
    75
    The plot is simple stuff, spread fairly thin in terms of events but portentous in terms of meaning. It comes down to: What is right? -- a question that children often seek answers to.
    Full Review » 5 years ago
  • Michael Phillips Chicago Tribune (Top Critic)
    100
    There's a certain amount of pain in Where the Wild Things Are, but it's completely earned. The movie fills you with all sorts of feelings, and I suspect children will recognize those feelings as their own.
    Full Review » 5 years ago
  • J. R. Jones Chicago Reader (Top Critic)
    A fairly beguiling screen experience, though by the end of its 101 minutes I was definitely ready for bed.
    Full Review » 5 years ago
  • Steven Rea Philadelphia Inquirer (Top Critic)
    75
    With Sendak's blessing, and with the aid of writer Dave Eggers, who teamed on the screenplay, Jonze has transformed the iconic picture book into a satisfyingly moody, melancholy, madcap live-action romp.
    Full Review » 5 years ago
  • Colin Covert Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top Critic)
    100
    In an era glutted with sanitized, prefabricated, computer-generated kids' stuff, this is an experience of sophisticated cross-generational appeal. It digs deep into childhood's bright, manic exuberance and also its confusion and gloom.
    Full Review » 5 years ago
  • Tom Long Detroit News (Top Critic)
    50
    Intellectually interesting, visually arresting and filled with invention, there's just one crucial thing Where the Wild Things Are is missing: wildness.
    Full Review » 5 years ago
  • Bill Goodykoontz Arizona Republic (Top Critic)
    70
    There is some real magic here. But there is also the feeling that something's missing, that Max's journey isn't quite complete; the dour mood of the monsters doesn't help.
    Full Review » 5 years ago
  • Sara Vilkomerson New York Observer (Top Critic)
    Something doesn't quite jell, and no matter how gorgeous each set piece is, it doesn't always entirely add up to a complete and satisfying narrative. I couldn't help but think, from time to time, how on earth were these guys allowed to make this movie?
    Full Review » 5 years ago
  • Todd McCarthy Variety (Top Critic)
    Director Spike Jonze's sharp instincts and vibrant visual style can't quite compensate for the lack of narrative eventfulness that increasingly bogs down this bright-minded picture.
    Full Review » 5 years ago
  • Lou Lumenick New York Post (Top Critic)
    50
    Some very good books were just never meant to be turned into movies. Sadly, you can now add Maurice Sendak's 1963 classic Where the Wild Things Are to that list.
    Full Review » 5 years ago