If I may, I’d like to try and change your mind.
So few people I know love this movie. No one I know (apart from Roma) loves it like I do (which is Ocean deep) and all the conversations I’ve had revolve around the fact that people find it disjointed, fragmented, ramshackle, loud, weird, strange and with truth delivered in a split second which leads to a confusion.
Like childhood? is my response.
And a look comes over their face that shows they didn’t think of it like that. As PT Anderson’s Punch Drunk Love is the best film ever made (in my opinion of course, like all of this) about falling in love, this is the best film ever made (in my opinion) about childhood.
And not only that, it contains a truly valuable, fast disappearing lesson. Trust your children, trust they are not idiots and can listen to their feelings and using the lessons you teach them, of fundamental right and wrong, work out the right thing to do.
Kids are not idiots. They are smarter and more perceptive than we give them credit for.
Max does not understand all that is going on, he gets hints of the truth in snatches as he is mostly alone, through choice and not, and he can’t process it. He runs away where he is confronted by his feelings and his actions and the real world through the cipher of his imagination and he works out the truth for himself. The film moves quickly, in fractures and then slows, and then speeds up again.
You can’t watch it with older eyes, accustomed to a smooth clock, in a life where routines dominate, however small. It’s not like that when we were kids. Events and time are not the same as they are when we get older.
Spike Jonze captures fear, wonderment, loneliness, learning and realisation perfectly. This is an abrupt and dazzling film with incredible characterisations of the Wild Things, a strong, brattish and scared performance by Max Records as, well, Max. The score by Karen O is fantastic, it’s loud and full of hope and instinct. The film looks gorgeous and it makes me cry.
It makes me cry because the realisation at the end of the film, about the realities of the world, represents beautifully and truthfully and powerfully the end of childhood. The loss of innocence.
Get past the unconventional structure, remember what it was like to be a child, and wonder awaits. Genius is here.
I freaking love, love, love this film.