Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Where the Wild Things Are

I (finally) saw Where the Wild Things Are yesterday. I walked away not sure if I loved it or if I hated it. So, the good and the bad:

It was beautiful. The photography of the scenes were easily the most beautiful i have ever seen in a movie, period. There was nothing at all wrong with the way it was shot, the backgrounds, the costumes, lighting, etc. I loved it for that. Also, as much as I do not care for Karen O, the soundtrack accomplished what I believe a soundtrack should. It emphasized the emotion of what I was seeing. It made my heart race when it was supposed to. Well done.

The message(?) It might just be that I am in a particularly melancholy state of mind these days, but i was overwhelmed at how sad it was. I breathed a sigh of relief when the end credits rolled. It was so sad. Max has a few moments of elation as he engages the teenage boys in a snowball fight, only to have his hope and joy destroyed with his hard-earned igloo. The "wild rumpus" goes swimmingly, allowing him to think that there might be hope, only to end in his being trapped in a cave of Wild Things, not able to breathe. It seems the director was saying that Joy cannot exist without sorrow; that joy is the absence of inevitable and more prevalent sadness; that joy can even cause sorrow (dirt clods fight.)

When Carol asks Max, "Will you keep out all the sadness?" he's essentially setting the movie up for its principle message. That message seems to be something like, "Sadness is reality, joy is fleeting, cling to love." Love is the point. Max sees that there can never be a perfect world, that he can never make everyone happy. He sees that what is true and right and worth pursuing is the love he has for his mom. He abandons his fantasy world of sadness and disappointment; a world that he had complete hope in, for the reality of home. Even though home came with loneliness and hurt and neglect sometimes. I think I want to believe this about Jesus. I want to believe that there is love in Him that I can hold onto. He won't keep all of the sadness away, he won't keep me from sorrow, he won't make me happy with everything. But He is love. He will love me, he will have his arms wide open indefinitely for as long as i remain a wanderer. I see myself in Max in this regard. I run from the loving arms of my father to find something better, only to realize through a hell of a lot of pain that those arms, that home I ran so vigorously from is the place where everything is made right. Those arms are perfect definition, lasting validation constant value and relentless love. I want so desperately to really grasp this, and to be changed by it. And so the saga continues...

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