Thursday, 14 January 2016

Film Review: Mary & Max (2009)

Fig. 1 Mary & Max (2009) Movie Poster
Adam Elliot's Mary & Max (2009), in many ways, acts as an oxymoron. Although, at it's heart, it's quite a cute tale between two completely different people who find comfort in their communications, and with the film having some fun moments in, it does demonstrate some dark messages with some equally disturbing moments to match. These opposing components make for a fascinating experience, which you shall not forget in a hurry. 
Fig. 2 Mary
As the title suggests, the film focuses on two characters - Mary and Max. We are introduced to Mary when she is still only a child - living in Mount Waverley, Australia. She is very lonely and has had/is having a troubling childhood, and with having no one to confide with, life is a very difficult for her. Max is a morbidly obese 44 year old Jewish man who lives in New York. There are certain parallels between his and Mary's life, as he too had a troubled childhood and finds living a difficult task. While living with anxiety attacks, his letters from Mary act as a way to forget about the world, as he gets pleasure from them.  As the story progresses, both characters develop through the years, but unfortunately for them, they progress in a negative manner. Mary grows ever increasingly concerned about her image and becomes depressed, as a result. Max's issues result in the diagnosis of having Asperger's disease. By the last few scenes of the film, the pair are linked through their troubles and this, therefore, makes their relationship easy to understand. 
Fig. 3 Max
In this modern age of animations being computer generated, Mary & Max is a welcomed alternative through the use of Claymation (The use of clay figures and stop motion photography). With the film being set in the 1970s and 1980s, the film's animation style echoes back to the time of stop motion and the time before CG. Because of this, it makes the film's setting easy to understand and get a clear image of that time period. The clear lack of colour throughout highlights the dark tone of the film, with only a few objects being in full colour. The colour demonstrates the importance of certain objects in the film, and in some cases are there to show links between the two characters. Although, Mary and Max are miles a part, they still share a link and so the use of colour shows us this in a subtle, yet effective, way.

Fig. 4 New York City
It would be a fair argument to say that's it's a bit strange and unlikely that the characters' relationship would have come to fruition in the real world. As their interactions begin through Mary randomly chosing a name out of the phone box, and then it being someone like Max, then that is some what far-fetched. However, this suggests that the two were destined to share such a close bond and be similar in lifestyle and interests. This gives us the message that we can all grow a relationship with anyone.
In conclusion, the films has a fun sense of humor, all the while sharing some dark messages with some equally disturbing, and shocking, scenes. It tells the story of unlikely relationship, which will always make for a pleasant story - That is why I have given the film 4.5 / 5 stars.

Illustration List:
Fig. 1 Mary & Max (2009) Movie Poster - - (Accessed 14/01/2016)
Fig. 3 Max - - (Accessed 14/01/2016)
Fig. 4 New York City - - (Accessed 14/01/2016)

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