Mary & Max - Directed by Adam Elliot - Featuring the voices of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tony Collette and Eric Bana - Melodrama Pictures
As you can see from the above trailer, "Mary and Max" is a gloriously dark and subdued piece of claymation filmmaking, with some top-notch talent behind it.
When I announced that I was finally watching it yesterday, a Twitter friend, Robynn McCarthy, counseled me to have a box or four of Kleenex handy, and she was not wrong. The story of a decades-long pen friendship between an awkward little girl in Australia and an even more awkward middle-aged man in New York City was as moving as it was funny even before the serious tear-jerker ending.
This film is a complete emotional roller-coaster of low-comedy pratfall (nary a bird is seen that doesn't crap hilariously on something), high camp (it's obvious long before the other shoe finally drops that Mary is basically her childhood crush's beard) and serious meditation on what it is to live with Asperger's Syndrome and how it might just be considered offensive to consider that a disability. The characters are all fascinating (I could watch Mary's mom "test the sherry" all day) and the soundtrack a thigh-slapping commentary on the action it accompanies (a famous motif from Prokofiev's "Romeo & Juliet" is used to especially amusing effect).
A wave of the tissue to Juan and Lee (and Juan's wife Marie) at Movies You May Have Missed, an excellent film-lovers' podcast of which I've long been fond but have lately decided is unmissable, for telling me about this fantastic little film. I had missed it and might not ever have heard about it were it not for them.