An 8-year-old girl starts to correspond with a 40-year-old man. Sounds like a beginning of a criminal story with moral about dangers of chats and meetings with strangers? Well…not all stories in the world are sad and dark. “Mary and Max”, directed by Adam Elliot, is a wonderful tale about a beautiful friendship of two outsiders that brings back the forgotten charm of writing letters and creating “paper” loves.
Mary lives in Australia – she doesn’t have any friends and she is not into imaginary talks. That’s why she decides to send a letter to someone from America – the desire to be close another human being goes hand by hand with a dream about discovering other lands and realities. Max lives in Manhattan and he seems to be a typical representative of a sad phenomenon of loneliness in the crowd. He gets a mysterious letter and the beautiful story of soul mates begins. It’s important to say that “Mary in Max” is also a praise of the written words and their possibilities – the director reminds of their devaluated values: power of creation and expression.
The aesthetics of the movie is very intriguing. Its colours reflect its characters souls and hearts – their rather melancholic than joyful, more withdrawn than enthusiastic. It’s sad that Mary had lost interest in the world, and it lost interest in her. Visual layer of the movie highlights this dependence and make the character’s changes even more visible, which is kind of paradoxical, because the world around them always remains the same. The director focuses on human insides and creates a tale that is deeply metaphysical. Mary and Max talk about God, love, freedom – their letters are simple, but at the same time really meaningful and truly touching. There is no exaggeration or dramatic grief. The protagonists share the experience of outsiders who don’t belong to the regular – fast and furious – world. Max reads books about madness and about becoming normal world. He needs Mary to understand that that there is nothing wrong in being different and she needs him to learn the same.
“Mary and Max” is simply weird and brilliant. The director seduces the audience with the charm of bitter-sweet tale about two freaks who describe for each other themselves and their strange, lonely realities. Letters become a portable space of safety and trust. Elliot invites to the coherent and built with extreme precision world that is both – sad and funny, lonely and full of love.