Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Film Review - Mary and Max (Adam Elliot, 2009)

Fig 1. Mary and Max Poster.

Mary and Max is a true story of two unlikely pen pals, told through stop motion animation. The entire film consists of mostly their letters to each other and how those letters change as they grow older. The film regularly switches between a small town in Australia where Mary lives and an apartment in New York City where Max lives. These two settings are presented in very different ways. New York is shown as  dark and lonely place (See Fig 1), while the Australian town is shown to be a quiet but charming place (See Fig 2).

Fig 2. New York City.

The film uses a lot of clever ideas to make a fairly simple and long winded story very engaging throughout. As it is at its heart, a story about two pen pals an ocean away, reading through letter after letter on either side would get extremely uninteresting after the first few. This issue is fixed with captivating dialogue sequences which appear to make up the majority of the film. As a result it is a truly charming part of the story and the voice actors do very well to capture the emotion in the written words.

Fig 3. Mary's House.

Despite a noticeable chunk of this film being comedic, it is truly chaotic in terms of its emotional changes and overall tone. One minute the film wants the audience to laugh, the next it shows very genuine moments of darkness in these characters lives. It is hard to tell whether this takes away from the experience or makes it all the more potent. One thing is definite however, it is hard to imagine this film telling the story any other way and still creating such a vivid experience.


Illustration List
Elliot, A (2009) Figure 1. Mary and Max Poster. http://www.yourfaceisa.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/MaryAndMax.jpg (Accessed on 18/01/16)

Elliot, A (2009) Figure 2. New York City. http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-U7rhSiKQ3Os/Uvfoc1jtVjI/AAAAAAAACjM/0wmssjAfkxU/s1600/Mary+and+Max+screenshot+1920x1080+(3).jpg (Accessed on 18/01/16)

Elliot, A (2009) Figure 3. Mary's House. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-cuIq3xxiiPE/Ub_wzxjTA5I/AAAAAAAACt0/TnsndIoB3i0/s1600/Mary+and+Max_1.png (Accessed on 18/01/16)

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