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Beyond Fest '16: The Bad Batch

Mary and Max (2006)

Mary and Max is a 2009 Austrailian clay-animation feature directed and written by Adam Elliot. (my friend jeremy insists that i watch it! and thanks!) It tells of a 20 year pen pal friendship between two very idiosyncratic and different people: Mary Dinkle, a chubby, lonely, 8-year-old girl living in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia and Max Horowitz, a 44-year-old Jewish man who is severely obese, suffers from asperger's syndrome and leads an isolated life in New York City. it is quite a simple story about the tale of two lonely people who just want a friend.

Their friendship forms out of sheer coincidence when mary becomes curious to know where babies come from in america (cause apparently in australia, they are found in beer bottles.) she randomly rips a sheet out from the white pages and voila, she meets max horowitz. while it appears to be very whimsical and simple, it touches on deep subjects such as depression, obesity, isolation, childhood neglect etc, etc. in the opening credits, it says it is based on a true story. elliot clarified that the character of max was inspired by a pen-pal he's been writing to for over twenty years. (which makes me question if he and his pen-pal met the same fate as the characters in the end. hmmmm...)

the film is very reminiscent of jean-pierre jeunet's amelie (2001) in that mary has a wildly expansive imagination that confronts ideas and emotions that have been buried since one's own childhood. the way mary looks, talks, and acts is like an explosion of cuteness and when she says stuff like "he's scared of outside, which is a disease called homophobia" her cuteness radar just bursts out the roof. what started out to be a simple exchange of words turned out to be more than they ever bargained for. their 20 year friendship which was built through scribbles of ink and paper influences and changes them more than any real and tangible relationship ever could. and maybe thats the key to true happiness and friendship, to have an eternal bond between two people that cannot ever be broken even through the hardships of time, arguments, and distance. A-

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