I recently watched a great Australian stop-motion movie called Mary and Max. As many of you readers know, I like to watch stories in which characters display traits similar to those seen in Aspies like myself. This movie is actually based on a true story (however, I believe there may be some embellishing). The story focuses on a girl named Mary Dinkle who lives in Australia. She has a father who works in a factory that staples tea bags, while her mother is an alcoholic and kleptomaniac. Right away, we learn that Mary is inquisitive. She wants to learn where babies come from, but her mother gives her some dubious information. So, she randomly finds a phone book for New York and picks one of the names. The name she picks just happens to be Max Horowitz, a reclusive man who has drifted from job to job and has difficulty coping with the world around him. To make matters worse, the letters cause anxiety attacks in Max because he doesn’t really know what to tell Mary. Eventually, Max gets institutionalized as a result of the attacks, and he learns he has Asperger’s Syndrome. Mary becomes intrigued by this, and it inspires her to pursue a career in psychology. She’s also married her high school crush. I love how Max tells her that he has come to terms with his Aspergers and that he doesn’t wish to be cured.
What I like best about this movie is that it is very balanced in how it portrays Max. Yes, the man does have problems coping and socializing with others. However, it shows his strengths too. Max does have goals–including winning the lottery, getting all the characters from his favorite cartoon, and having a real friend. His psychologist tells him they are stupid goals, but I believe that is not correct, especially since he meets all of them. If you meet a goal, it shouldn’t matter that it is stupid.
I think this is a great movie and will both entertain and educate those who watch it.