You’re a lonely little girl living in outer Melbourne. Your mother is a drunkard and your father is more interested in stuffing dead birds in his shed than he is in you. Your name is Mary Dinkle, you’re eight years old, your eyes the colour of muddy puddles and your birthmark the colour of poo.
This is Mary and Max, a feature length animation that recently stole my imagination.
Described by her own family as an accident, young Mary seeks friendship in a stranger by randomly selecting a Manhattan address from the phonebook. She writes to Max Horowitz; an overweight Jewish New Yorker with Aspergers Syndrome. Over the course of twenty years the pair become pen pals facing the trials and tribulations of their differing lives both together but apart, sharing their separate stories from across the seas.
The film is so incredibly heart whelming, taking the audience on an emotional rollercoaster as we bear witness to the daily existence of a person with Aspergers and the life of a girl growing up. The use of colour and words to form such a story, melts me at every scene.
“Tell Bernie Clifford your birthmark is made of chocolate, which means when you get to heaven you will be in charge of all the chocolate. This of course is a lie, I do not like lies, but in this case I think it will be of benefit. I wish I could be in charge of all the chocolate, but of course I can not, because of my Atheism.” - Max writing to Mary who is upset because of a boy in her class bullying her birthmark.
Inspired by such a soul stirring movie, I have decided to follow in Mary’s footsteps making connections out of my circles and hoping with all of my being for a response. I have my pen in my hand and a piece of paper underneath it…and I’m writing to a beautiful stranger.
Pulling out the national phone book I’ve opened a page at random and picked out a name without looking….
You don’t know me…but please don’t stop here. I’m not a danger, just a stranger…hoping for an unlikely response. I recently watched a film called Mary and Max about a friendship formed via a letter sent with goodwill. That’s why I’m writing to you.
My name is Jen. I’m a writer and blonde but not by nature just nurture. I love beautiful things…the sun casting a rainbow through the refracted light on my bed…and finding a fiver in my coat pocket. I love the sound that my cat makes when he stretches in his sleep…and the way seagulls walk on the prom. It’s the free things that are most beautiful, right?
I’ve travelled around a bit, seen a bit, tasted a bit. I’ve met people from all kinds of backgrounds…some who shine colours and others not so much. Have you travelled anywhere adventuring? My Grandad once told me that my garden was an adventure if I let it…I’m still not quite sure what he meant.
We have a duck in the garden at the moment. My Mum, she calls her Mrs Huffyknickers. She’s a mallard and she is nesting in the bush by the white shed…the duck that is, not my Mother. You see we have a big pond at the front of my house and they gather there regularly to quack. My Mum doesn’t think that they’ll hatch though, she leaves them and goes swimming all day…still the duck, not my Mother. Perhaps not all of us are meant to hatch eggs.
It’s easy to talk to you stranger. Do you mind me calling you that? Perhaps I shouldn’t, you’ve made it this far so we’re friends now, right? I do so hope you reply. I’ll be waiting at my letterbox with baited breath because it’s not my intention to meet you…penpals wouldn’t be that without pens. I just want to say hello to a
stranger friend…hello. Please talk to me.
Sent with all fingers crossed,
x x x
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