I have talked about Neon Genesis Evangelion quite a bit in past blog posts (heck, who hasn’t talked about Neon Genesis Evangelion?). In particular, I wanted to talk a bit more about Evangelion’s infamous and controversial ending.
If you have ever read up on any blogs or websites about movies, comics, video games, or any popular media, you have likely come across a post that discusses the portrayal of women. A term that is often used in these discussions is “strong female character”. On its face, it’s a relatively straightforward term, but its actual definition has been surprisingly varied, specious, and controversial. The only common ground all definitions of what it means to be a strong female character is that she is definitely not this:
WARNING: This post contains spoilers.
I knew almost nothing about Mary and Max before I watched it a couple nights ago. I was aware of its existence after seeing it on some “100 Greatest Animated Films of All-Time” list, but I knew nothing of its plot, characters, or director. That is out-of-the-ordinary with me, considering that I have always existed in a world where Disney is ubiquitous and every other major animation studio in the world markets themselves similarly through relying on their audience’s familiarity with their aesthetics and past work. Little did I know that this crude looking, monochromatic film would be the emotional tour de force that it is. It’s a cliche for a positive critique to say “I laughed! I cried!”, but that’s precisely what I did. I can’t think of another movie what ran the gamut of Don Hertzfeldt-levels of wry hilarity and Grave of the Fireflies-levels of utter despair. Maybe I’m being a little hyperbolic, but most animated films don’t capture my emotions the same way that Mary and Max did. There is one theme in particular in this film that resonated with me.