Monday, 4 May 2015

Food Module: Mary and Max

Mary and Max is a stop motion animation based on a true story; where the main character a young girl from Australia, Mary, decides to write to someone in New York, Max who suffers from Asperger's Syndrome. I found that this animation even though not labeled as a documentary itself, is in fact informative. It opened my eyes to Asperger's Syndrome, depicting the problems and habits that can stem from it, I felt that this was important for the audience to know the problems that people who suffer from it go through. Even though these problems were portrayed within a light-hearted manner, it helps to see Asperger's Syndrome with what it can do. These acts and emotions are shown extremely well through the use of body language that the animators perform through the model and are enhanced with the facial expressions. The lighting and tone of both point of views for the two main characters contrast, which work well with portraying their personalities and where they live.

I found the black and white depiction of Maxs' scenes to be fitting with the dismal city of New York and how much he hated the sounds and smells, it reflected his state of mind. I did like how the only colours that were shown in 'his world' were the colour red and anything that Mary sent him. I loved the merge of the colours when Mary finally met Max, and Maxs' 'world' became filled with colour, almost breathing a life into the atmosphere. This scene was also quite emotional through how the audience watch both of their lives unfold up until the point in which they meet. You become attached to both of the characters and you feel the emotions that Mary goes through when they finally meet each other. However as the camera turns to show Max, we discover that Max has passed away peacefully, with the letters from Mary near him.

I found one of the scenes in particular to be quite powerful with the message that it portrayed; Mary graduates from university and writes a book on mental health in which she is so extremely proud of that she sends it to Max. Having received the book, Max grows angry as he never saw Asperger's Syndrome to be a disability before, and in his rage he sends an important gift that Mary sent him back to her as a powerful answer to her book. The emotions and problems  that Mary goes through from receiving the letter seems to continue to spiral downwards from that point. I found that this connection between the two friends that had never met each other to be so sweet and this scene pulled on the heart strings with their fight, through how the audience have this connection from the previous scenes in which both help each other in their daily lives.

I felt that the narrative worked extremely well with the added humor and notes on both of their lives, especially with Maxs' facts about having Asperger's Syndrome. This form of narration, even though the animation was aimed at an older audience, would work with children, through how information is translated to the audience through a story rather than an infographic.

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