This November has been especially gloomy so my mind has been lingering on brown/gray palettes, and one animated film in particular my mom recommended to me a few months back which fully embraces the color brown; Mary & Max (2009).
It's about a plain Australian girl whose favorite color is brown, with eyes the color of "muddy puddles", and a brown birthmark on her forehead which "looks like poo", who is sad because she has no friends; and a 44 year old, overweight, Jewish, New-Yorker with Asperger's syndrome (voiced by Philip Seymour Hoffman) who also has no friends. Through random chance Mary flips through a New York phone book to find Max's name and decides to write to him.
Max is overwhelmed by the letter he receives and is soon launched into a full-blown panic attack due to the complex and invasive nature of Mary's questions. For a man with Aspergers, any small thing that alters the routine of normal life is cause for great anxiety.
Instead of telling you too much, how about you watch the lovely trailer yourself to get a better idea:
Please enjoy one final clip from Adam Elliot's early short, Cousin:
I find there is more depth and poignancy in five minutes of an Elliot animation than in most 2 1/2 hour films. I know that in the last six months I have been more moved watching animated films than live-action ones. Isn't it interesting how animation can be so moving despite the fact it is told with "inanimate" objects? Well, the inanimate becomes animate through the skillful hands of the animator. That's why it's magic.
That's also why I prefer stop-motion to computer animation. Computer animation often comes off as sterile, rigid, and hollow feeling. True, the quality is incredible, and they're getting great at making if feel alive, but it takes a lot to force a computer out of it's need for geometric precision. Stop-motion involves the hands of a living, breathing human, and with that comes all the flaws and imperfections of human touch, but that's also what gives it love and character.
Elliot's entertaining stories about friendship and heartache remind us to appreciate the simple joys in life. He is truly a gifted filmmaker and I hope we may see many more talented animators like him emerge from Australia in the near future.