Max is a feisty little kid. First he gets upset because his older sister doesn’t want to play with him. Then he gets upset when her friends play too rough (i.e. caving in his snow fortress). His mom (Catherine Keener), though caring, has her own stuff going on (work, boyfriend) and she can’t be there every single time he builds a fort that’s really a rocket ship that will take them to the moon. As a kid, I remember being frustrated when I wanted to show my mom something, and she, busy working or conversing with another adult, would only walk very slowly towards the excitement I had waiting just around the corner, while I tugged mercilessly on her arm, trying to get her to break into a run. This is normal kid stuff, and I’m not sure its enough to summon the kind of tantrum Max throws, one severe enough to take him to a far away island inhabited only by big, scary monsters. It makes Max come off more like a spoiled brat than the hero-figure created by Maurice Sendak.
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