Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mary & Max

I began this blog four years ago, and then let it lie, neglected, because I didn't think I had anything worth saying - or reading. I'm still not sure I do. However, in the last few months, over and over I've been asked if I have a blog. Curious.

Driving the 30 minutes to and from work is some of my best thinking time - if I'm not listening to an audio book or singing loudly (and very badly) to a CD. The other day on my way to work, I thought of something so profound and magnificent I felt I had to share it, and I remembered this nascent blogling. Of course, as soon as I got to work and all the stresses of the day started piling up, my amazingly spectacular thought had fled. Still don't remember what it was, but maybe it'll come back to me in a dream. I'll let you know.


So here I am. Writing a blog. Why today? Well, I watched a movie this morning that knocked my socks off! I can't stop thinking about it. And I want you to not be able to stop thinking about it, too. It's called "Mary and Max".

Okay, I've got quite a few friends that are film experts (or "hexperts" as my Mémére Lagueux used to say). They practically devote their lives to writing interestingly and knowledgeably about movies! They know stuff about directors and genres and even musical scores, I bet. I just know what makes me say, "Wow!" or "Whoa!" or "Holy Shit" or laugh uncontrollably or cry a little bit or cry a lot.

"Mary and Max"(voiced by Toni Collette & Phillip Seymour Hoffman respectively) is claymation for adults. This is a bittersweet story of the friendship between pen pals in Australia and New York over a twenty year span. It's based on the real-life pen pal relationship of the filmmaker. We get to know Mary, in Oz and Max in NYC through their letters to each other, and a wry narrator (voiced by Dame Edna's Barry Humphries). They are both friendless and seen as "different". The correspondence, or lack thereof, becomes a catalyst for change for each of them in unexpected and heartbreaking ways.

The clay animation is superb! The use of this style of animation adds a lighter note to a story that might, if told in another way, have become merely depressing. It is nearly monochromatic, though. The few splashes of color are used so well! They serve to highlight the scenes in a way that words couldn't.

"Mary and Max" - It's funny, sweet, gritty, sad and ultimately about acceptance. Watch it, if you have a soft spot for such things.

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