Hello, and welcome to another edition of You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet! My series of review-articles are not necessarily the greatest films in movie history, but all of them are most memorable. I like to think of them as a celebration of the strangest films out there.
by Martin Hafer
Amazingly bizarre yet easy to love.
I have already watched Adam Elliot’s other films (such as Harvey Krumpet, Brother, Cousin and Uncle), and I was excited to see Mary and Max. After all, these other films were wonderful and very original and I found myself hooked when I watched them–though I had difficulty knowing exactly why. Now, with this newest film, we all have a chance to finally watch a feature-length version of his wonderful and very strange work. Additionally, EACH is animated with some of the strangest yet most interesting style you could imagine. I don’t know how he’s able to do this complicated and exciting sort of film using mostly clay!
Mary and Max begins in Australia and concerns a very lonely girl named Mary. Her parents are completely inept at parenting and mostly she is left to entertain herself. One day, on a lark, she rips a name out of an American phone book and writes to a “M. Horowitz”–telling him about herself as well as asking him where babies come from in America. As Max Horowitz is a socially inept odd-ball, his response to her strange letter is amusing to say the least. And, through their ensuing letters to each other they become friends–an 8 year-old girl and a 40+ year-old man and the film consists of showing each writing and narrating their letters over the course of many years.
Where this bizarre business goes, you’ll just need to see for yourself. However, without spoiling the film, I can safely say that I never, ever could predict where the film would go next!! Like all of Adam Elliot films, the film is just plain odd–with a delightful strangeness you can’t help but like. And, even more than his shorter films, you can’t believe how much time and effort he took to make this movie. It’s amazing….really. And, fortunately, his work is totally unique and inventive. Aside from his previous shorts, I’ve never seen anything like it–and I am pretty sure you’ll feel the same way if you try this delightfully strange film. Just don’t try to understand or make sense of it…it might just make your brain explode. Oh, and do NOT watch it if you are feeling depressed. Although it’s got lots of funny moments, the film is VERY, VERY dark–so much so that you should think twice before watching it. And, although the film looks like a kids’ movie, I would probably think twice before showing it to young children.
Martin’s Grade: A+