Yes, critics and filmgoers alike are raving about this film. Plenty of reviews and blogs have already been written about the film--much more timely than myself, yet I still need to add my two cents.
I don't want to spend time on why it is awesome; I wanted to talk about its haunting nature.
Since seeing the film on Monday night, I haven't really stopped thinking about it. If I have, I soon go back to it, conjuring up images or certain fragments of dialogue. Plus, I feel like I dreamed about it on Monday night. Can't specifically give any details, but I swear there were Carols and KWs and Judiths rumpusing through my dreams. Another of my friends I saw the film with said the same thing. It's not often a film can tap so deeply into the subconscious. It's as if Spike Jonze channeled the very spirit of what it means to be a child--how utterly frightening and beautiful and fantastical and horrifying it can be.
I remember my own childhood being much the same, full of moments so steeped in wonder that my head reeled, then they'd shift into something terrifying, my overactive imagination kicking in and scaring the crap out of myself. This was probably a common occurrence for single children, those with much older siblings, and general outcasts within their schools. Hard as it might have been from time to time, I think it was all for the best--I wouldn't be the writer I am if it weren't for all those hours alone, spinning my stories in my own mind as I dove from snow bank to snow bank, dug a fort into the earth, and worried about all those ninjas ready to attack.
I will be seeing this film again. I can't not. When something shakes you to the core, you don't ignore it. You let it shake you again and again and again until you feel nothing.