Where the Wild Things Are, Spike Jonze's adaptation of the Maurice Sendak classic, is a victory for filmmakers. I'm not saying I loved it -- the tale offers little relief from sadness and disappointment, conflicted relationships, lonely nights and grunge atmosphere -- but I admired the way Jonze stayed true to the young boy's point of view.
This was poignant storytelling from the inside out, unbroken by the pressure to load up with colorfully gaudy, kid-friendly excitements. That latter approach may have been more fun for the kids in the audience raised on easy entertainment (including my little girl), but not more authentic.
So chalk one up for Spike, even if the kids are not mad for Wild Things. With a reported budget of $80 million and years of struggle, it's a massive achievement to convince studio bosses to give him the space to create an art film. That takes enormous nerve, self-confidence, political skill -- and artistry.