Mary and Max Claymation
Mary and Max is a film in Claymation that has touched my heart in so many ways. Its messages and themes are many, multifaceted, and multi layered. To name just a few: True friendship. The universal aspects of humanity. Not fitting in and wanting to change yourself. Not fitting in and not wanting to change. The hap hazards of life. How people affect and effect each other. Aspergers. Depression. Self confidence.
In a nutshell, Adam Elliot’s writing is perfection, each word so carefully chosen, so right. Elliot’s words bring explanation and offer understanding to those things, both spoken and unspoken, in life which can’t be explained with words. In this relation there is a poetic quality to the narration and dialogue.
There are so many little and big things of life’s neuances that lives in this Claymation that to read any plot line would be a waste of time and give you only part of the picture. The plot line stems from a momentary decision made In 1976 by eight year old Mary Daisy Dinkle who decides, while waiting for her mother to pilfer envelopes from the post office, to write to someone in America and ask them where babies came from. A long friendship follows where we the viewers and listeners get to experience an intriguing and real-life view of the main characters, Mary and Max.
I’m not pleased that it took me so long to get around to watching it, (2009 Sundance film festival), but I have to say it was worth the wait, and possibly meant more to me now than it would have then. I chalk it up to the fact that sometimes things come into your life at unexpected times for unexpected reasons. Now that this film is in my life, I know that I’ll be watching this a few more time for sure.
While this film has a gentleness to it, its core includes the inevitable realities of life, and is truly not meant for children. Tears are also an inevitable part of life in this film, whether real, or bottled (literally), so be sure to have some tissues available.
The characters that make up Mary and Max are familiar to each of us in one way or another. They are believable. They are simple and complicated at the same time. Their lives, emotions, psyches, routines, physical states, are presented as an open book.
A small bit about some of the characters:
Mary Daisy Dinkle, from Australia, has a birthmark on her forehead the color of poo, and eyes the color of muddy puddles. Her mother tests cooking Sherry in liberal amounts, loves cricket, and while out and about, she hides goods under her dress. Mary’s father stuffs dead birds he finds on the side of the road on the way home from his job of putting strings on tea bags. Mary’s neighbor who has no legs and suffers from agoraphobia will one day save her life.
Max Jerry Horowitz is a New Yorker who has Aspergers disease and smells like licorice and old books. His goldfish, each a Henry, die one after the other in adventuresome ways. His neighbor can’t see very well and the man outside his building sells hugs for 50 cents. Max has three life goals taped to his ceiling. His letters to Mary Daisy Dinkle are typed on his Underwood typewriter, which was missing its “M” for a while.