MARY AND MAX (Mongrel, 2009) D: Adam Elliot,.
MARY AND MAX (Mongrel, 2009) D: Adam Elliot, w/ Toni Collette, Philip Seymour Hoffman. Rating: NNN DVD package: n/a Rating: NNN
One of the beauties of puppet animation is that their comic unreality allows for big, sticky emotions that would be utterly cringeworthy in live actors, so writer/director Adam Elliot made a good call in using claymation for Mary And Max. It’s an unabashed weepie.
Mary is a lonely eight-year-old in an Australian suburb. She picks a name out of a New York phone book and writes a letter.
Max, an equally lonely Asperger syndrome sufferer, replies, and a long friendship is born.
Their attempts to deal with the world and tell each other about it provide lots of gentle humour, very well voiced by Toni Collette and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Elliot has an eye for caricature, but every so often he injects a needless, cruel joke that suggests, like the arch tones of Barry Humphries’s narration, that he doesn’t quite trust the material.
According to the credits, it’s based on a true story. Given some of the oddities, like Max’s lottery win and the fate of Mary’s book, some background would have been welcome in the extras.
EXTRAS Widescreen. English, French audio.