Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mary and Max [2009]

Director: Adam Elliot
Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Toni Colette, Eric Bana, Bethany Whitmore
Genre: Drama/Animation
Rating: Adult (dark themes; depression, anxiety, obesity)
Comment: "An interesting marriage of a Clay-animation with a bleak atmosphere..."

A neglected eight-year-old girl, Mary (Toni Colette) forms a friendship with an autistic, obese, forty-year-old man, Max (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Although their interactions are limited to mail, they both affect the lives of each other in a way that neither of them could have seen coming.

What to Expect
1. A rather dark atmosphere
2. Things to feel a little dragged out
3. Inspirational at times

What NOT to Expect
1. But not generally a "feel-good" movie
You can afford to miss it, although once you start watching you're likely to stick until the end
Don't let the cutesy looking visuals dupe you into thinking that this is a Wallace & Gromit or Chicken Run  [2000] type of thing. If so, then you might find this movie to be too much of a downer. Bordering on drama and an art film, this movie is an interesting mix of the innocent appeal of claynimation with some harsh realities about life.

Some examples include childhood neglect, teasing, loneliness, autism, obesity, depression and anxiety. In other words, not something you would come to expect from an animated feature, and might be a little off-putting if you're not prepared for it.

But don't get me wrong, this is not a movie that spends the entirety of its running time moping about the darker side of life, there are plenty of observational humour and wit going around, making this a beautiful, and deeply emotional film that explores the themes of what makes us human; our need to connect with one another. Once it's all done, you might even forget that you just spend ninety minutes empathising with characters made from plasticine.

Should you see it?
Well, I wouldn't classify this as a "must-see" movie although it does have its fair share of rewards. As I have said earlier, you might not feel like you're missing out on something should you miss it. But once you start watching, there's a great appeal to this movie that you would want to keep watching until the end.

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