by Kierston Drier
If we had time to spare in our busy lives, many of us would never be behind on any good show or film, but sometimes even the best pieces slips through the cracks. While it is highly acclaimed (and with good reason) if you haven’t seen MARY AND MAX, do it.
Mary and Max, a 2009 animation drama coming out of Australia has a pedigree of awards long to make even the shrewdest movie goer seek it out. Director Dam Elliot took home the prize of Best Director in a Feature Film, from the ADG for the work in the same year, and the piece won Best Animation Feature Film at the Asian Pacific Screen Awards, and received numerous honors and nominations besides. Yet that might not be enough to sway you to see a film.
An animation with startling and breathtakingly effective visuals, this piece is a lush feast for your eyes. Detailed and subtle, with a charming yet oddly other-worldly tone to it, it plays out in muted blacks and whites with bright accents of color. It’s music, emotive nature and whimsical touches bring it into a child like world of imagination- yet it’s subject matter and emotional complexity is anything but childish.
Mary is a young Australian girl in the 1970’s, who flees from a life of loneliness, parental neglect and solitude by seeking a pen-pal out of the phone book. She sends a letter to Max Horowitz, in New York. Max is a forty-something jewish atheist who struggles with social issues. The two strike up an unlikely, but enduring friendship.
What follows is the true story of two people at odds with a world they do not conform to. And the result is heartbreaking, breathtaking and maddeningly beautiful. Some films are greater than the sum of their parts. We can analyze each character, deconstruct the plot and the style, and brilliant directing- but there is an inexplicable, unknowable quality in this movie that makes it’s line replay themselves in your head long after the final credits roll.
If you love animations or drama, watch Mary and Max. If you love films that will make you laugh, cry and think, watch Mary and Max. If you love films that break the mould and set the standard bar of cinema a little bit higher than they were before- what Mary and Max. Watch it. It is 80 minutes of a life incredibly well spent.