Mary and Max

Director: Adam Elliot
Year Released: 2009
Rating: 2.5

Lonely, ugly Mary (Toni Collette), living in Australia, sends a random letter to a man named Max (Philip Seymour Hoffman) living in New York in the hopes that he'll write back and they'll become pen pals - the connection turns out to be (basically) revelatory for the both of them, as neither can seem to make (real-life) friends easily: Mary because she's an outcast, Max because he's autistic. Though it does get excessive with its high 'quirk factor' (chocolate hot dogs?) and is inherently dreary and a bit off-putting (and the ending, though poetic, does kind of leave one with a sour feeling), the view of exactly what entails a true friendship - with its highs and lows - over a long period of time is admittedly intriguing: exactly why shouldn't two lost souls living in different parts of the world - and despite being decades apart in age - not find some kind of bliss in corresponding their woes and successes to each other via the post (don't we basically do the same thing with the Internet, sharing and learning about individuals we may never, ever meet in real-life)? The character design is wonderfully grotesque (for those who appreciate the macabre).