Mary and Max (9/13/12)

Mary and MaxMovie Two Hundred Twelve

Mary and Max is about a lonely Australian girl finds a pen pal in New York and the two become lifelong friends.

Mary Daisy Dinkel (Bethany Whitmore and Toni Collette) is a young girl living in Australia. She is unpopular and ridiculed and has an unstable family life. She decides to write to a pen pal in New York City and finds Max Jerry Horowitz (Philip Seymour Hoffman), an older, autistic man that is also an outcast from society. The two remain pen pals for many years and as an adult, Mary studies psychology and writes a book about Max and his disorders, which angers Max. After Max decides to forgive Mary, she decides to travel to New York to finally meet her best friend.

Admittedly, I left a lot of the finer details of the plot out of my synopsis which may make Mary and Max seem like a fun-going movie about friendship but it doesn’t detail some of the darker points of the film. The film, although claymation, is not for kids but it is a very surprising and touching story. I have seen very few films that deal with life in such a way that Mary and Max does. It is slightly comical but also very realistic and ultimately endearing. At first, the characters seem a bit off-putting but then the film gives them such personality that you feel for even the weirdest of characters, and boy are some of them odd.

I have dreaded writing this review for Mary and Max for one reason: the ending made me sob like a baby for nearly 30 minutes after the credits had ended. I just sat there staring at the Netflix menu after the film was long over and my heart just ached for the characters. The reason I was so affected by the film I will not get into, but I was never expecting to be so touched by Mary and Max. The animation and story are both so unique that it may give a different impression if you are used to Wallace and Gromit, Mary and Max may strike you as incredibly odd but try to stick with it. The oddities of the animation and characters are weird but endearing.

While I would struggle to make it through a second viewing any time soon, I would instantly recommend Mary and Max to everyone. The film does not shy away from various mature subjects while maintaining it’s great animation style. Mary and Max is one of the bigger surprises of the year for me.

I give it 4 chocolate hot dogs out of 5.

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