Monday, October 11, 2010
Review: Mary and Max
Friendship is truly a beautiful thing. If there is one thing Mary and Max communicates, it is this.
As you could have guessed, this film centers around two people; Mary and Max. Mary Daisy Dinkle (voiced by Toni Collette) is an eight year old girl living in Australia. Her eyes are the color of muddy puddles and her birthmark is the color of poo, as the brilliant narrator tells us. She has an alcoholic neglectful mother, an insane taxidermist dad, and no friends. That is, until she decides to mail a letter to a random person in America. That random person is Max Jerry Horovitz(played masterfully by Philip Seymour Hoffman) , a lonely, obese forty-something ex-Jew living in New York. He, like Mary, has no friends and finds people to be very confusing. He spends his days collecting cigarette butts, attending "over-eaters anonymous" meetings, and eating chocolate hot dogs right after said meetings. At first he is puzzled when he receives the letter from Daisy, but he eventually responds. From there, they continue to mail each other and they become the best of friends. hat is truly beautiful to see is how these small letters effect the other person's life. They make a bigger difference than I think they thought the did. Max becomes almost a mentor for Mary, and Mary becomes an escape for Max. But both become friends. The letters they send over the years truly strengthen each other and make them better people. A lot happens from A to B in this movie, and I want to try and spoil the least I can because this film is truly an experience.
Now there is one thing I didn't mention about this film; It is entirely claymation. And boy is it beautiful. This is the most well done claymation film I have ever seen in all my days of film criticism. The world is so amazingly crafted, that its really hard not to fall completely in love with the world and its characters. While a good portion of the characters are what could be called ugly, there is a certain charm about it all that really pulls you in and allows you to enjoy it. Although this is indeed an animated film, it is no Disney movie. I mean that both literally and figuratively. For one it was produced by Melodrama Pictures and secondly this really isn't a kids movie. It deals with mature themes such as mental illness and suicide. But it looks at these subjects with a light heart, and it doesn't get too sad. That is, until the end which will probably have you in tears.
The voices lent by both the main characters and the supporting cast are simply amazing. My personal favorite Philip Seymour Hoffman even further shows his talent with the character of Max. The character has a very monotone, deep voice and never before have I heard such a voice with so much personality. He really adds depth to Max and its my opinion that the character wouldn't have been half of what he was without Hoffman at the helm.
In short, this is a beautiful film. It is funny, sad, touching, and sweet. The claymation and the acting are both astounding. You will be moved by this extrordinary tale of friendship.