Mary and Max is a dark comedy with a lighthearted tone. Its characters are loveable and fill a world that has a lot of personality to it. The Claymation is wonderfully stylistic and features pretty impressive visuals, with great humor to match. The movie is smart and witty and gives an entertaining perspective of the world from the eyes of an eight-year-old girl and her forty-four year old friend. Although the movie can get extremely dark and depressing it still manages to bring the audience back to a feel good place as well as teach a few lessons a long the way.
Mary and Max has been on my list of movies to watch for a very long time. It wasn’t until a recommendation from a family member that I finally set out to watch this film. Luckily for me they informed me that it was on Netflix instant streaming so my search wasn’t that long. I’ve been a huge fan of animated movies for a very long time but my experiences have been very limited to the works of Pixar, DreamWorks and such. Although their work continues to impress and improve I jumped at the chance to expand my animation palate and left with a very pleasing experience.
Mary and Max is the story of two strangers who by random chance become pen pals. Mary, an eight-year-old girl, lives in Australia with her neglectful parents and tries to make sense of the world she lives in. Max is a peculiar forty-four year old man who lives in an apartment in New York City where he attends meetings for weight loss and struggles to understand his fellow citizens. The two share an inability to interact with others in their respective lives and through this they develop a bond where they learn to cope with their worlds.
The movie has a very dark and grim aesthetic to it. Max’s world is filled with black and grey colors where as Mary’s is filled with a dull brown tone. It’s an interesting and awesome stylistic choice that whenever Mary or Max mails something from their respective hometowns that the colors stay the same. The movie also features a lot of visual humor in the writings, book names, and food labels as well as other various items in the movie. The characters themselves are highly stylized and feature less than flattering looks which only adds to their charm.
I always struggle when it comes to commenting on musical scores but I couldn’t get through this review without mentioning the score of Mary and Max. The main theme is brilliant as it is catchy. Its light and cheerful tone does such a great job of contrasting the aesthetics and mood and is truly a stand out piece.
Speaking of humor the movie has a very dark and black sense of comedy. The movie deals with a lot of adult themes such as sex, drinking, and smoking as well as coping with anxiety. However, all of these things are viewed from the perspective of a young girl and a misguided man, which creates for some very interesting and entertaining conversations. Although this movie isn’t rated, it’s clear that it isn’t a movie for children. However the funny play on words, the frank humor as well as the witty sense of the world makes it entertaining for more mature audiences.
The movie is very bleak as well as depressing but the impressive thing about this movie is that no matter how dark it gets it still finds a way to bring a moment of happiness amidst all the dark. Though it’s dark in nature, the lighthearted tone ultimately makes this movie a bitter but still a good feeling movie.
Another interesting quirk about this movie is that almost all of the dialogue is done through an off-screen narrator or through the internal voice of the two pen pals. The narration gives the story a sort of whimsical feel to it and at times I felt like it was almost inspired by Dr. Seuss in the way a lot of the narrator’s sentences were structured. The narrator’s warm narration lends to the movie’s good feel and helped keep me invested despite some long dragging sequences.
The world of Mary and Max as well as its lovable characters are truly the anchor in this film. Both Mary and Max are so well rounded that they’re extremely easy to connect with. They have a lot of charm as well as a humorous naïve sense of the world that shines through their lines and action. It’s hard not to be drawn in and invested in the movie when these two great leads let their lives unfold on screen.
Mary and Max is a dark comedy with a lighthearted tone. Its characters are loveable and fill a world that has so much personality to it. The Claymation is wonderfully stylistic and features pretty impressive visuals, with great humor to match. The movie is smart and witty and gives an entertaining perspective of the world from the eyes of an eight-year-old girl and her forty-four year old friend. Although the movie can get extremely dark and depressing it still manages to bring the audience back to a feel good place as well as teach a few lessons a long the way.
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