Mary and Max

More Claymation from Harvie Krumpet

Jul. 3, 2010
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Picking a random name and address from a New York phone directory, an eight-year old Australian girl writes a letter to a stranger that leads to a lifelong if sometimes thorny friendship with a 44-year old Manhattan man. And no, they never exchange nude photos! Mary and Max, the imaginatively conceived and executed claymation feature from the minds behind the Oscar-winning short Harvie Krumpet, is a grimly amusing, oddly endearing film about the unlikely ties binding two lonely people.

Mary (voiced by Bethany Whitmore and Toni Collette) lives in a sepia-toned, one-story Australian town. She is homely and friendless, aside from her pet rooster, Ethel. Her dad stuffs and mounts the dead birds he finds along the freeway and mom is an alcoholic in hair rollers who steals envelopes from the post office. Max (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is a trudging, overweight, maladjusted man living alone in the decaying squalor of a black and white, graphic novel rendition of New York. Although they appear to have little in common beyond a shared alienation based on the unfortunate circumstances of their upbringing, their oddness in the face of societies that seem odder still opens a line of communication and a ray of light in the darkness.

Mary and Max is out on Blu-ray and DVD.

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