Monday, June 27, 2011
Written by Adam Elliot
Directed by Adam Elliot
Starring Bethany Whitmore, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, not really TonI Collette
Through her loneliness and boredom, a young Aussie girl begins a pen pal friendship with an older man in New York. They kind of grow up in parallel.
i enjoyed this one. two oddballs brought together by desstiny. mary's perception in her childhood is highly amusing to me. the randomness that makes sense to children was written well. the art direction was cool, the story a bit depressing, but good depressing. sooo yep. good way to spend the morning hours of a saturday. if this is really a true story, i approve.
This was a cute, "just fine" experience. In the roughly two days since we watched this, my esteem for it has waned a little; but that could be more my general mood than anything else. There was some good structure here, and it's somewhat difficult to differentiate it from what one might classify as a student effort. The parallel development was quite direct--the travails of each main character were difficult to say the least--and the ending was not my favorite kind of ending. I found myself drifting a bit around the one-hour mark and while I knew what was going on I wasn't super-invested in a lot of the details that brought Mary in particular the rest of the way to where she logically had to go.
Part of that is the story itself, and part of that is the animation. The style of the animation was not exactly unique, but it was a less frequent kind of different. The choice to do Australia in Sepia and New York in grey was a wise one, but it paid off in just a single shot. As a narrative differentiator it was utterly unnecessary, and it actually took away from the other ways in which the styles used to depict the two locales varied.
Those locales were fully realized as separate entities, due in equal parts to choices made by the production team and the actors. Toni Collette gets second billing, when aside from the fact that she does the most talking of an character, young Ms. Whitmore's easy, natural performance might even surpass Hoffman's very well put on accent. She gets the first ten minutes of the movie mostly to herself, and she uses every minute to bring us into Mary's head in a way that we never really get from Max. (There are other reasons for this, sure, but attributing those to the filmmakers might be stretching things a bit too much.)
Anyway, you should probably discount most of what I've written as the 5:00 AM ramblings of a grump and just watch this fucking movie.