|Fig 1. Mary and Max film Poster|
Elliot's narrative is truly authentic, even down to the way in which the film was made. Using clay, Elliot made his characters look very cute, similar to the characters found in the Wallace and Gromit series. Ordinarily, these films are associated with children.
However Elliot wanted a more adult story line and therefore characters that depicted this. Whilst the film could initially be mistaken for a child's programme by its title and its look,the film speaks about the truth and hardships of "real life". As the viewer gets to know the characters of Mary and Max they appreciate that their grubby, dreary and imperfectness are more typical of adult life.
Taking a more traditional approach such as claymation takes time, patience and a lot of hard work. "It was a logistical nightmare," he said in 2009. " They worked out if I had animated it, it would have taken 225 years." (Buckmaster, 2014) His crew even made "133 sets, 212 puppets and 475 props. Elliot employed six animators who each completed roughly five seconds a day." (Buckmaster, 2014)
The film is narrated through Max's voice and references is own thinking and life. Max is a character who suffers from severe depression, obesity and mental illness. He is later diagnosed in the film with Aspergers, which due to the difficulty he has in communicating and understanding non verbal indicators, makes life much harder for him. He opens up to his pen pal Mary about it: "Recently, whilst I was in a mental institution. They diagnosed that I have a new thing called Aspergers syndrome. Which is a Neurobiological, Pervasive, Developmental, Disability. I prefer Aspie for short." He says this wearing an "Aspies for freedom shirt" created a light hearted approach to his disability. Back then, learning difficulties were only just being recognised. They were even trying to cure people of Aspbergers: "Here I will list some of the traits of an Aspie. Number 1, I find the world very confusing and chaotic, because my mind is very literal and logical.......Dr.Bernard Hasslehoff says my brain is defective but one day their will be a cure for my disability."
|Fig 2. Film Still|
The film shows a very dysfunctional family that consists of an alcoholic mother and a dad who likes to keep his distance by staying in the shed stuffing dead birds. Mary is a very sweet and kind child but feels extremely lonely, so she confides in her adult pen pal Max.
|Fig. 3 Film Still|
"It’s half-term, but that’s not quite why the singular claymation cartoon Mary & Max is getting an airing. One of the title characters has Asperger’s, and the other tries to kill herself — fun for all the family!" (Robey, 2010)
It is difficult to place this film into a particular genre because it doesn't fit neatly. Its unique and unpredictable story and message places it in many categories.
Figure 1. Mary and Max film poster https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Mary+and+Max+2009&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiHis6LqebYAhXkD8AKHaS3BNoQ_AUICigB&biw=1229&bih=607#imgrc=uYiOYr9NJvSvUM:
Figure 2. Film still https://blog.animationstudies.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Figure-3.png
Figure 3. Film still http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-3PHu9MScQcI/VHyjxqmpkyI/AAAAAAAABws/Uid6cNGmLl8/s1600/mary%27s%2Bmother.jpg
Buckmaster L (2014) https://www.theguardian.com/film/australia-culture-blog/2014/may/30/mary-and-max-rewatching-classic-australian-films
Robey T (2010) Mary and Max Review http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/filmreviews/8078477/Mary-and-Max-review.html
Mary and Max (2009) Film