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When the claymation film Mary and Max premiered at Sundance in January, it was met with great acclaim. (It’s currently at 95% at Rottentomatoes.)  The film marks the feature debut of Adam Elliot, who won an Oscar with his short film Harvie Krumpet. It tells the story of an unlikely friendship. Mary is a young Australian girl with no friends. She becomes penpals with Max, an aging and obese man from New York who has a great number of neurosis and insecurities. The film’s style is a bit visually goofy but also touching and surprisingly effective. There’s a new trailer for the film, which is now available On Demand; watch it after the break.

The film’s primary voices are by Toni Collette (Mary) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (Max) but you’d have a difficult time pegging either one right off, as they’re both deep in character. (Hoffman is a bit easier to ‘spot’.) The 20-year pen pal friendship that develops in the film is based on Elliot’s own 20-year writing relationship with a New York man, as the director explained in an interview:

Like Max he is an atheist, he is Jewish and he has Asperger’s. There are a lot similarities but the film is not based on his life. I say it’s inspired by him. I never let the truth get in the way of a good story and there are plenty of embellishments.

The trailer definitely plays up the humor and whimsy of the scenario, but there’s a lot more depth in the film. It hits dark themes like neglect, suicide, depression and extreme anxiety, and generally steps well outside the realm of childish animation. It’s a remarkable little piece of film.

The New York Times has the odd, hilarious new trailer, which is embedded below. The film is available On Demand right now.

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