Luckily, an hour after seeing Another Year, I was treated to the marvelous and moving Mary and Max. Although the themes are similar (‘Life’s not always kind, is it?‘ in Another Year, and ‘Dr. Hazelhof also said that everyone’s lives are like a very long sidewalk. Some are well paved. Others, like mine, have cracks, banana skins and cigarette butts.’ in Mary and Max) Adam Eliot treats it with subtlety and sympathy. In his own words, his latest clayography again ‘explores our desires for acceptance and love, no matter how different we are!’
I loved his previous short in 2003, Harvie Krumpet, and, as with that, found Mary and Max darkly comic, bleak in parts and gut-wrenchingly sad. But the humanity at their core, and their ability to put you through an emotional mill, makes both, finally, deeply life-affirming. As John Walsh in The Independent wrote, ‘Amid much childish dross this week, Adam Elliot’s “clayography” stands out as a genuine work of art, where Wallace and Gromit meet Dostoevsky and Diane Arbus.’
It’s tough to write about something you admire this much, that manages to name check Cherry Ripes, Caramel Koalas and Lamingtons, and that even has Philip Seymour Hoffman providing, brilliantly, Max’s voice – but in the end I’m not sure I could love anyone who didn’t love Mary and Max.
Thanks to the Abbeygate Picturehouse in Bury St Edmunds for screening it (even if only once…). And huge appreciation to the whole creative team. May all your mood rings, but particularly Adam Eliot’s, always glow green!