“Mary and Max”

I watched a movie over the weekend that I thought I’d share since it really evoked a lot of emotions and thoughts for me.  I love B, and though I found Iron Man 3, Star Trek, and Fast and Furious 6 entertaining (though the last extremely unbelievable* – there were some parts where I thought, “Oh, come on!” as I shot him a glaring glance.  But he was fixated on the screen with overstimulated eyes, so I just let him have his moment), his tastes are polar opposite of mine and I wanted to check more emotional and somber movies since it was June Gloom outside.

Mary and Max” is a claymation movie about an 8 year old girl named Mary from Australia who becomes pen pals with a 40-something year old man named Max in New York.  I don’t want to spoil anything (though I will talk about the characters), but the movie really spoke to me on so many levels both because it was written beautifully with great wit, and I loved the selection of Toni Collete and Philip Seymour Hoffman as the voice overs.  They are two of the most understated actors, and I wish they were featured in more films.

I loved this movie because right out of the gates, I could really relate to Mary.  Mary was awkward, had glasses and obvious birthmark, and had trouble making friends, all of which I also dealt with.  As a child, I was painfully shy and had trouble fitting in, that I couldn’t wait to finish school to go home and read in order to go in my own little world.  I recall my mom asking if I made friends on more than one occasion, and sensing the dismay in her voice, I thought it would make her feel better if I said, “Books are my friends!”  (It didn’t, btw.)  Anyway, some of Mary’s worries and inquiries through the letters were gut-wrenching, though just as equally adorable were her eccentric likes and intrinsic optimism.

Then enters Max, whom we learn has Asperger’s and severe anxiety.  My friend who referred me to this movie gave me a heads up that Max has Asperger’s, and knowing someone fairly close that has it, I was immediately curious by it.  I admit, some of the mannerisms and habits that Max portrayed made me laugh because they’re pretty similar to the person I know, which I thought made the character more endearing. Plus, Philip Seymour Hoffman was so incredibly on point with his delivery, that just as much he made me laugh hysterically, he made me bawl with equal caliber.

I appreciated the movie by bringing more awareness about Asperger’s, and I hope it brings attention and understanding to a population that I feel are too often misunderstood (and at times too easily dismissed).  I hope that by seeing this movie, some people might be even more curious to actually read and learn about Asperger’s a bit more, so that hopefully people become more patient or understanding.  Just as I am starting to learn that the topic of money shouldn’t be taboo, I don’t think disorders or mental health issues should be either, and I feel the more we know, the more we understand, and the more we can help.

It’s definitely not for kids despite the claymation aspect, and I don’t think this movie is for everyone nor do I think people will love it as much as I did.  But since I’ve had some crazy search engine results on some of my less than proud posts, I hope anyone that was considering watching this movie might run across this post when googling, and become curious enough to check it out.  Because I really do feel it’s worth it.

*Okay, so all of them are unbelievable, but Fast and Furious more so with some action sequences since it at least attempts to pretend it’s real life.

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15 thoughts on ““Mary and Max”

  1. When I was a substitute teacher for 2 years, I was surprised (but at the same time not) at how prevalent Autism was in the classroom. You were guaranteed to find at least one child somewhere on the spectrum in every classroom. Mary and Max seems like a movie that I would like to see. Thanks for the recommendation Anna!

    P.S. you didn’t like the scene where Vin Diesel jumped across unbelievable space to rescue the girl? 😛

    • I was talking to a couple of teacher friends and they said the same thing. It’s a great movie, I watched it a couple times and laughed/cried both times. LMAO at your P.S. – that’s exactly the scene I was talking about! B and I figured that even if that were to occur, wouldn’t the girl be the one to get land onto the window shield and not Vin? Oh Hollywood! 😉

  2. I love those actors and am always looking for movie recommendations! I recommend the Edukators and L’Auberge Espagnole! Thanks for the good find. It’s nice to see characters who we can relate to either now, or in our past.

    • I remember watching Edukators but don’t really remember the movie… I’ll have to re-check it out. L’Auberge Espagnole looks right up my alley – I love Audrey Tautou! Thanks for the recommendations!

    • Oh, I wanted to watch Warm Bodies when it first came out – I hope it comes out as a rental soon. Thanks for the recommendation, now I really want to watch it.

  3. Sounds like an interesting movie. I really like Hoffman and most anything he’s in is worth checking out. Sorry you had to put up with FF6…I wonder how many more of those they’ll produce (err…force on us. 😉 ) in the future. 🙂

    • OMG, John, I cannot tell a lie – after I saw the tail end of FF6, I do admit telling B that we can watch the sequel (yep, there’s a sequel). They tricked me by putting someone completely awesome in the next one! 😉

  4. I just assumed Mary and Max was a kids’ movie and just ignored it before. Now, I want to check it out.

    I was involved in a special christian mission that focused on people with mentally and physically disabled people and autism, though some kids do get better enough to function independently, was a real hearbreak for me to deal with. The whole family has to deal with this and I’ve seen truly dedicated mothers and fathers that I admire so much.

  5. This sounds like a really sweet movie – I work with a lot of individuals with Aspergers in my day job and really enjoy their perspective on things (it’s different), it sounds like it would be right up my alley.

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