I expected this to be not very good, normally I am a bit bored by animations, though I do like Nick Park and The Wrong Trousers.
What I got was an unexpected gem in this film that made me cry. How many animations can do that unless you cry easily?
This is about a girl who lives in Australia. She is very lonely, with a drunken detached mother and equally uninvolved father. She is bullied and her only friend seems to be her little dog.
So, she picks a random name from the phone book, and lands on Max Horowitz from New York, and sets out to be his pen friend.
She chooses well, because Max is 40, and equally lonely. They both have unhappy lives, and it's painful and touching to watch.
Max, far, far, far from being a perv or writing anything remotely creepy (although rather candid), is so happy to hear from Mary, and he takes time to write her back, loads, about his life, and the rest.
They are both totally honest with each other, which is refreshing in this day and age of internet profile pages full of lies and superficiality, and neither wants something from the other apart from a friend.
Mary sends him a bright red pom pom (she always puts treats in with her letters, which is also touching), and Max wears it from the moment he receives it.
On so many levels you'd write off the fact a 40 year old lonely man who is writing a young girl as wrong or creepy, but this film just manages to make it nothing but touching, not an easy task in this day of 'everyone you don't know is a paedo' mentality.
The film reminds us that people can be good, that adults can be kind to young people without having some dirty ulterior motive, and also, that no matter how bad it gets, and life can get really bad, that there is always some small reason to keep on, some hope.
Films like this renew my faith in people, and what more can you ask for?
Beautiful, touching, funny, and flawless.