Thursday, 15 January 2015

World Animation Film Review: Mary and Max


Mary and Max written and directed by Adam Elliot, known for Harvie Krumpet and the Brother, Cousin, Uncle shorts. Grown up on a shrimp farm in Southern Australia, discovering his artistic abilities at an early age spent five years studying photography, pottery and painting as well as others, Elliot's first piece of animation was made in 1996, Uncle. Elliot has a distinctive "chunky wunky" style, with its crooked lines and grungy aesthetic which he used in Mary and Max, he commented "‘…there were no straight lines – every prop had to look like it had been dropped once, every prop had to look like it had been bought at an op shop and then everything had to be grunged up and aged…". Mary and Max stars the voices of Toni Collete who voiced Mary and Philip Seymour Hoffman who played the loveable character Max as well as  Barry Humphries who narrated the animation.
Over a period of 20 years and two countries, Mary and Max was a delightful and well written piece. Set in New York and Australia the two very different and unlikely pen pals who found a friendship through a find in the library of his address by Mary, an eight-year-old with no friends who wanted to reach out and find one somewhere, as did Max, a forty-four-year-old, so the two became friends quite quickly. The story takes you through their best and worst times of each others lives, you see Mary grow up into her late thirties, tall and mature, unlike Max who just grows wider eating plenty of chocolate hotdogs.
The animation was slow paced but nothing in the story was not relevant, every piece was needed to create this whimsical tale. The simple colour design is easy on the eyes and recognisable when you shift from grey to brown, and the colours are described quite humorously. The whole film is a delight to watch from start to finish, but it does feel like it goes on for a while. I would recommend the elder generation to watch this.

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