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Mary and Max, a Claymation film by Academy Award-winning animator Adam Elliot (Harvie Krumpet), has just enough quirky oddity to distinguish it from Elliot's fiercest Claymation competitor, Aardman Animation (Wallace and Gromit).Mary and Maxtells the story of a 20-year pen pal friendship between an 8-year-old Australian goth girl, Mary Daisy Dinkle (Toni Collette), and 44-year-old New Yorker Max Horowitz (Philip Seymour Hoffman). The film's humor throughout is rooted in a general malaise that afflicts both characters. Mary, who has an alcoholic mother, a dull father who works in a matchstick factory, and a grandfather who committed suicide by drinking ammonia, is quite fed up with her ensuing adolescence. Fortunately, she reaches to the right person, an agoraphobic man with Asperger's syndrome who wants friends but has no clue how to acquire them. As the story progresses, years lapse and the two learn to rely on each other in more intimate ways until conflicts arise that add tension to an already-packed narrative. The animation style, done mostly in a gray to black palette with an overall droopy look, enhances the melancholic feeling that exudes from this intriguing story. Funny details, too, make it suitable for kids, such as Max's never-ending passion for chocolate hot dogs. While the letters are shared with the viewer, read aloud by either Mary or Max, one discovers universal anxieties and how they can be remedied through friendship. When Mary asks, "Have you ever been teased?" Max has pages to draft on this topic.Mary and Maxis a uniquely bittersweet film starring two clay-sculpted outcasts that leaves one hoping for a sequel. --Trinie Dalton
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review by . June 16, 2013
posted in Movie Hype
I am skeptical of independent, "artsy" films. I find they try too hard to be different. Mary and Max fits into this category. That said, only an utterly cynical critic would fail to connect with the message at the heart of this movie, and I am not that critic. Mary and Max is weird, depressing, and overly indulgent of pessimism; it is also beautiful.            To summarize: one day, Mary Daisy Dinkle randomly selects and sends a letter to an address …
review by . December 10, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Mary and Max is an independent claymation flick from Australia, with a darkly comic theme about a lonely and misunderstood 8-year-old girl who strikes up an unlikely and disturbing correspondence and friendship with a 48-year-old overweight depressive male diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome. While that sounds unlikely enough as a topic for an animated film, what was truly unexpected was the moving power of its simple message, achieved without resorting to sentimentalism or cliche.    The …
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