Spike Jonze and cowriter Dave Eggers’s adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s 1963 illustrated classic is a wonderfully touching, dreamlike movie about childhood, an imaginative blend of wonder, humor, and melancholy that expands Sendak’s 338-word story into a reverent yet unique cinematic experience. A child of divorced parents, Max (Max Records) is a nine-year-old who wears a furry wolf costume and wreaks havoc for the attention of his mother (Catherine Keener). But when one of his tantrums goes a bit too far, Max runs away to a rocky island where seven monstrous creatures treat him like their king. Rather than rendering the Wild Things as entirely CG characters, Jonze had real actors perform underneath large, animatronic suits (from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop) to craft an array of unforgettable, uncanny, and sympathetic characters. Featuring the voice talents of James Gandolfini, Catherine O’Hara, Paul Dano, and Forest Whitaker.

Ages 8 and up: features mild depictions of sexuality and alcohol use and brief explicit language.