I briefly considered creating some sort of spurious narrative, but truthfully I was Facebook-stalking an ex-girlfriend. She happened to be extolling the virtues of this movie in her status. Not something she would do lightly. She’d made me sit and watch Donnie Darko with her on our second date as a sort of litmus test to see whether or not I was worthy of her time.
Despite us not working out, I felt her taste in movies was generally beyond reproach. Enter Mary and Max, an Australian stop-motion film that opened the Sundance festival in 2009.
Despite what it looks like, this is not a kids movie. It deals with some pretty serious themes. Depression, neglect, addiction, loneliness, Asperger syndrome, suicide and a slew of anxiety disorders. Which probably immediately makes you wonder ‘that sounds horrible, why the hell would I watch this?’ OR ‘god this sounds like my life, why would I watch this?’
All the things that make this movie quite dark are largely negated by the humour and the artistic clay-mation style of the movie. Mary and Max is quirky and wry, funny and sad, rich and thoughtful. Philip Seymour Hoffman voicing Max is stellar. It left me feeling buoyant and cheerful, despite being shot in the same color pallette as a dirty puddle.
This not a movie you should watch flippantly though. After a workday that more resembles a verse from Dante’s inferno (Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate) this is not the movie to bring you back from the brink. This is more of a post dinner, Friday night with wine, pre-intercourse movie.
Its a very unusual film. But definitely one you won’t forget about.