‘Mary and Max’ - Movie Deep Focus

posted May 1, 2022 in Arts & Entertainment by Jon Mead.

“Mary and Max” directed by Adam Elliot is a dear favorite by the many audiences who get a chance to watch it, creating both a heartfelt and bittersweet experience.
Some may be turned off by the child-like stop-motion animation that Elliot presents, but viewers should not sleep on this one, as this can often be misleading.

The story spans the course of 20 years and revolves around the relationship between two very different individuals from opposite sides of the world: Mary Dinkle, a lonely 8-year-old from Melbourne, Australia, and Jewish-American Max Horovitz, a 44-year-old man with Asperger’s syndrome living in New York City.

Dark topics such as alcohol, sex and the struggles of living with crippling anxiety may sound quite overwhelming at first — especially with the format of the film looking like a kid's movie — but it’s truly eye-opening and allows viewers to peak into the perspective of those living with loneliness and adapting to a neuro-normative world.
Mary lives with her neglectful alcoholic mother and her father, a factory worker who hardly has time to spend with his own child.

Max, on the other hand, deals with the struggles of obesity, crippling anxiety and handling the chaos of the city around him.

One day, while visiting the post office, Mary rips out Max’s name from a yellow page book, cementing the start of their friendship. 

Although it can be rather serious at times, Elliot makes the movie as comedic as it is dark — and as clever as possible.

This movie is sure to make viewers cackle at the director’s rough sense of humor, and may even throw some people off, utilizing that quirky monochromatic style of Claymation in an alarmingly grotesque way.

Although it may seem weird to some in the beginning, one slowly grows to love these completely disregarded characters, as they send letters to each other, almost as a lifeline for their unhappy lives. 

Toni Collette (Mary), Barry Humphries (narrator) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (Max) deliver excellent vocal performances, especially Hoffman, creating a gruff New Yorker accent for Max.

The narrations from each character as they write a letter to each other is a genius way of delivering dialogue and building on their relationship.
Overall, this movie has everything: an incredible analysis of human behavior and an ending that will make audiences emotional and ask for an encore.

Viewers will be left with a tear in their eye and the image of that iconic red pom-pom imprinted on their minds.

Jon Mead is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email jkm6040@psu.edu.

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