Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mary and Max

Mary and Max is an Australian clayamation drama about, you know what, I’ve lost some of you already, haven’t I? Ok, well, if you know from the first clause of that sentence that this isn’t the flick for you, I understand, and you’re probably right. For the rest of you, here goes. Mary and Max is an Australian clayamation drama about a middle-aged man with crippling mental disabilities and a young girl with a devastating and unfulfilling home life who find enrichment and friendship through a pen pal relationship. They are from different ends of the world, but they serve as the sole shining lights in their otherwise dark worlds. They yearn for and dread the letters from the other, as the letters end up being both escapes and painful reminders of their own oddities and shortcomings. There isn’t much more to it than that.

The movie is sweet, odd and interesting. It would be as painful as a root canal if it weren’t for the stop motion animation, which allows for beautiful moments of illustration and exposition that wouldn’t be possible with a live action shoot. While the movie is certainly unique, it also doesn’t have a great deal of depth and would have been much better if it were like a 45-minute bit for television or a short. So, in short, if you find matters of mental health and personal issues of family function interesting, you may dig on this movie. If you, like me, are a total sucker for stop motion animation, then there is no chance you won’t at least enjoy the craft of this movie and enjoy watching it. Even if you are both of those things, however, I think you’ll agree that the story of the film could have made more of a substantial point and been told in a more concise manner. Not a bad movie, fairly forgettable, but worth a watch.