on May 6, 2010
alright - don't be fooled by the claymation format - this is no film for little kids.
i study disability issues and knew it was about asperger's and wanted to see if it would work for teaching disability related issues in university. it certainly would, but it is also so much more. mary and max are both introduced as lonely outsiders in their respective countries - mary b/c her parents are sad and not very nice so she is a little girl with no love in her life; max b/c his parents have passed and he lives alone trying to grapple with the way that asperger's affects how he experiences the world. both of them are keenly aware that they are not like other people and i guess that is the main through-story here - that being different can be very painful - but that it is not so much intrinsic to how you are not normal as it is an issue of how other people/ society rejects you. without giving the story away, max for instance is upset with mary at one point when she slips and write about how she hopes to help find a cure for asperger's ... this seemed to betray all the trust that max had that she accepted him as he is.
what did i love about it? their years-long correspondance is quirky and sweet without being saccharine - the kinds of wee gifts they send each other are just fantastic in their simple sincerity. the way the writers channeled a youthful simplicity reminded me of bill cosby - i always wondered - how does he remember so much of what it's like to be a kid? that mix of confusion and certainty.
i also like that the story is not rushed - the timespan is long and many of the aspects of la vie quotidienne (everyday life) happen and they effect the narrative while not necessarily directly moving it forward or sideways ... reminds me of a phrase by sherri ortner - "life impinges" - like things don't always just work out how you plan. it's not a predictable film in any way.
being someone who works alot in the disabilty field - i like also the treatment of impairment here - hard to put a finger on it, but i think i'd say, that the impairment and the resulting social disabilities both of them face, are relevant but they are not the only point. the point is more about difference in general - disabilty seems to be a vehicle for dealing with that subject.
the ending is satisfying if unusual ... it did leave me wanting to know about "part 2" ... what happens next so i think that's a good sign that i really cared about the characters!
what was off putting? well this is not really a critique but a personal comment - it is quite a dark film and (spoiler alert) there are quite a number of deaths and bad things that happen ... so just be ready for that i guess. sometimes i thought that the many deaths wasn't necessary to tell the same story but then again i thought ok maybe that is important - it's not a story of ugly duckling turns beautiful and everything is fine.
i think if you prepared a class properly for viewing it, it could generate alot of discussion about disability matters but also about belonging, loneliness, friendship, social norms, difference, and, letter writing.
on February 2, 2010
À mon avis mériterais l'oscar cette année en film d'animation. Que de talent, je me suis assez vite attachée aux personnages de Mary et Max, un film profond,touchant. Je ne le regarderais pas avec de jeunes enfants, même si c'est un film d'animation, il ne vise pas un jeune public. J'ai aussi une bien meilleure compréhension du syndrome d'Asperger(autisme léger)malgré que les difficultées de Max ne semble pas si légères dans la vie quotidienne.
on April 8, 2011
Short, simple, touching story with an interesting style.
Not for kids necessarily, the story treats of alcohol abuse, mental illness, suicide and homosexuality.
Not that these things are not suitable for childrens ,it depends on the type of parent you are i guess but whatever it is it's treated from a kids point of view, therefore very innocent and genuine reflection of certain realities of our world!
on February 23, 2016
A favourite. It's an engaging story of two misfits who work to make a fulfilling friendship. There are some delightful little details. Voiced well by two fine actors. Adults of any age who enjoy something different, insightful, offbeat may like it.