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If you’re planning to take your kids to see Where the Wild Things Are this weekend, think twice. I sent my husband, two of my boys, my 11-year-old sister and my in-laws to the movie last night without me and 2-year-old Jack. That turned out to be a good choice. According to the crew I sent, the movie was well done, the special effects were amazing and the storyline valuable but this cinematic interpretation of one of our favorite children’s books is not for children.

*spoiler alert*

The plot is heavy. Max, the main character has trouble at home and has a couple of traumatic exchanges with his sister and mother before he runs away to an island of monsters where the movie takes a violent turn. The monsters play hard. Too hard. One game consisting of “wild things” throwing clumps of dirt at each other took place over others’ pleas for a merciful end, leaving one monster significantly wounded.

Later, when asked what their favorite part of the movie was, my kids responded thus:

Chris (4): Zero

Will (5): When the monsters were throwing dirt at each other! And when he ripped that other monsters arm off! And when she knocked those birds out of the sky with rocks.

Hmmm… Between Max’s real life tantrums, threats from spike-toothed monsters to eat him and weighty emotional themes, I would have probably spared my kids this experience. On a positive note, said my husband, “Parents of young kids might really enjoy this movie. If they leave their kids at home.”