Harvie Krumpet (2003) Poster

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He stays with you.
Ben_Cheshire8 March 2004
This little Australian claymation production was an unlikely winner for best animated short at the Oscar ceremony for 2003, beating a pixar production and other anime-bigwigs. Which is ironic, because Adam Elliot's twenty minute short is about an underdog. Elliot has appealed to a popular Australian myth, that of the Aussie battler, and the underdog (who we Australians inevitably root for), as a way to make an Australian audience sympathise with a migrant from poland, and recognise a similarity between themselves an him. What makes this short clever is that it uses the form of a children's story, a fairy tale, to communicate a moving story of hardships and not seem to bash the audience over the head with them. It has the appeal of the wonderful Aussie film The Castle, where great profundity can be found through a story told very simply, about simple people, whose outlook on life is so admirable. The story Harvie Crumpet tells, and the character of Harvey, are, of course, very different. Harvie suffers so much, and so many terrible things happen to him, that you have to wonder what is the redeeming thing about this story that makes it worth watching (leaving to the side its marvellous presentation in the guise of a children's fairy tale, or claymation television program perhaps, which creates, as mentioned, a juxtaposition with its content which is effective in lending it a genuine feel, making the audience want to be touched by Harvie). And, of course, the thing that makes Harvie remarkable is that he survives. He doubts himself, like all of us, and at times wants to give up the game, but at the end of the day, he seizes what precious moments he has.

Geoffery Rush as narrator rivals Anthony Hopkins for his fairy tale narration in The Grinch. Reveals what a wonderful, Australian storytelling voice he has. He should do more work in this vein, not to undermine his appearances onscreen, which are also marvellous (particularly Shakespeare in Love and Shine, but like Cate Blanchett, and unlike every other actor in the Hollywood past and present, he is just fantastic in every role).

In just twenty three minutes we are told, with the help of Rush, the life story of Harvie Krumpet - and at the end, even though he's only made of clay, we really feel like we know him. And he's a little fella that stays with you.
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Deserving of wider recognition
rgbarbero1 March 2004
I came upon this film by accident--the Australian production company approached my company to license music for "Harvie Krumpet", and after looking at Adam's earlier films we agreed. When I received a VHS tape of Harvie, I was thrilled, not just because of our music, (we got paid whether it was good or not) but because I felt a sense of discovery for a very unique talent and world view. Harvie's world of deadly boredom mixed with equal parts of magic and joy sets this film apart. It seems that Adam Elliot has a great mix of talent--an eye for clever animation with a mind for the daily collision of ordinary and extraordinary.

Geoffrey Rush is understated yet still expressive in his narration. But the film belongs to Adam Elliott with his sight gags and "what really is the difference between tragedy and comedy" mindset.
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ChavRose0610 September 2004
I rented the DVD out last week to watch the film that made Australia proud by winning that shiny gold Oscar.

This movie was short, it was only twenty minutes, but in that twenty minutes you become part of the little soul that is Harvie Krumpet, the animation was done by stop motion/claymation (which is tedious, trust me I study animation). The story is funny and sad at the same time and I promise you, once you watch it they'll be only 'one song' you'll be singing!

And you feel engaged in the film thanks to the great narration done by Geoffrey Rush, he has one of those powerful voices.

I rate this movie 10/10 and recommend it to everyone and anyone studying animation.

Thank you.
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Dark Humour at its best!
Scapercat8 March 2004
Harvie Krumpet is one excellent story. Very dark at times but also a reflection of life. As Harvie's life unfolds you can't help but think, yep life is like that. It's very funny, very sad and also very true.

My family sat down tonight to watch Harvie on SBS (Australian TV station) and we all fell in love with Harvie. Our ages ranging from 29 through to 85, we all all found something we could relate to in Harvie. Excellent storytelling, plenty of dark humour and a character you can't but help love.

The story and the humanity we see in Harvie is what makes Harvie Crumpet so appealing. There is also excellent Claymation that adds many dimensions to the characters. The expressions upon the characters faces truly add to the story that is being told. Each character is expressive and unforgettable. An excellent example of great story telling.

Go Harvie!!!!
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Surprisingly humorous tragedy
Jozxyqk9 March 2004
When I saw this short animation on the Monday night in question, I was surprised to see how such a sad story about a 'retarded migrant' could be so humorous. His story from a lumberjack's son to an animal- liberationist to an alzheimers patient is a well written and an entertaining one. I won't give away too much, but you will be pleased at just how entertaining this film is.

It definitely deserved the Oscar. I was quite surprised that it won, but then I saw the film and understood why.

If you every get a chance to watch it, take advantage of it.

I especially enjoyed the minor story about Harvie's doctor. Very clever.
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rossd200527 March 2005
I have always been a fan of stop-motion animation, but i stumbled upon this by accident. I was in Portugal and my family and i went back to the villa by myself early. I was flipping through the channels and I landed on Harvie Krumpet (Which I only found the title lately) with Portugese subtitles. So I stuck with it. I watched every minute of it. This was one of the most cruel, dark animations I've ever seen but I like that genre but through Harvies bad luck came good humour and I laughed the whole way through. Harvie's book of 'Fakts' gave us fantastic quotes like 'A cigarette is a substitute from your mothers bousm.' That was 7 months ago and while I was browsing through www.play.com today and said 'OMG it's him. Its released on DVD next month and I can't wait. If you ever get the opportunity to see this film SEE IT! This is the best clay-mation sort film I've seen since the 'Wallice & Gromit' series
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A Gamut of Emotions
stella-10018 March 2004
What a fantastic 20 minutes!! I watched this on SBS the other night, and I was utterly charmed. Its funny, poignant, touching, sad and has a few life lessons we could all take on board. Adam Elliot deservedly won the Oscar for this one. Its charmingly narrated by Geoffrey Rush who has such a wonderful voice, it shows the entire lifetime of a Polish boy who moves to Australia to start a new life when his parents are killed in a tragic accident.

Bad luck seems to plague the lovable character, he lives alone, endures illness, falls in love, has a family and ends up realising some truths about life. I saw an interview with Elliot on Andrew Denton's Enough Rope programme and he is as utterly charming and humble as his little character, everything from his mum knitting Harvie's costumes to being awestruck at the Oscars. He is destined for big things. Dont miss it!
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Simply Wonderful
Oblivious9318 May 2009
I first saw Harvie Krumpet in my high school science class. That class is amazing at being loud and obnoxious. People are regularly yelling across the room, throwing stuff, blaring music at full blast, and generally making the teacher's job very difficult. In fact, earlier in the class, two students had got into a verbal fight, yelling obscenities at each other for what seemed like ages. So when the teacher told us he was going to show a little animated film that I had heard of, one called Harvie Krumpet, I was a bit weary.

Harvie Krumpet it a claymation short running in at about 20 minutes, that details the life of an extremely unlucky man. The animation is crude yet not without its charm, the music is sparse but quite appropriate, and the story is flat out bizarre. In short, it was something I assumed my class would talk through. But I was wrong.

In the beginning, everybody was a bit weirded out by the style, and didn't really grasp it. They quickly adapted however and were soon laughing out loud at almost every joke the movie flung. People went 'awww' at the cute moments, said 'poor Harvie' at the bad, and as said before, laughed at the funny. But the moment I knew there was something special in this short was near the end. The was a moment of uncertainty where there was complete silence. Not a soul was speaking, or even breathing. For the first time ever in that class, everybody was quiet. You could literally feel different emotions coming from everyone. And when it was all over, as everybody was walking out of class, I didn't hear one person who didn't have something positive to say about Harvie Krumpet.

And I think that's what makes Harvie Krumpet so great; it can invoke feelings in everyone, from all walks of life. Despite being so different from the norm, everybody could appreciate the simple life that Harvie lead. Never before have I seen a movie with such an ability as that. And I'm unsure if I ever will again.
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RResende6 November 2011
I saw this when it was coming out. I remember it stroke me as incredibly fresh and imaginative. Part of this might be because i was at quite a different stage in my life through films. But now, 7 years later, this still retains a lot of its appeal. It's not been so long, but this still works on all its purposes, humor and visuals.

The skill in the making of this is top notch in every respect, of course. The characters, and such a film is absolutely all about characters are great in how the specificities of clay are used to convey absolutely every emotional nuance.

The story is a good piece of writing, using the always powerful combination of tragedy and comedy, something Chaplin understood so well. I think we cry deeper when we feel we shouldn't be laughing. It's the contrast that creates the power. By taking you to extremes of fun, enabling you to laugh, and suddenly pulling the rug out of your feet, writers leave you in a state of inner shame, which we interpret with uneasiness. Or it's the simple overlapping of comedy bits over a tragic environment. But i go with the first possibility.

Geoffrey Rush is great as an actor, and he brings that subtlety to his voice over.

But what probably caught my mind and makes this last is the clever framing they use. The "Fakts" as they're spelled in the film. Harvie spends his live registering unusual bizarre views of the world, in little sentences he calls (taught by his mother) fakts. These thoughts mirror what goes on happening to him throughout his life, filtered through Harvie's crippled yet beautiful mind. The fun is in how each fakt never reproduces correctly what really happens, and so it becomes a kind of a comment on the story itself. Born from it, but exterior to it, a separate element, clearly represented by the book Harvie carries strapped around his neck always, even when he's naked. Great stuff.

My opinion: 4/5

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Manage to stay funny, yet serious
Stibbert11 December 2005
Harvie Krumpet is a strange little man and life has never been on his side. This film tells his story and takes you on the journey.

The story is very well written and it mix drama and comedy very good. It is very funny, but still serious. The story is unique and original for a short film and it turns out quite good on the screen. The characters are charming and good. You really have sympathy for them and you get to know them. Especially Harvie. The animation is very good. It's stop motion clay animation in the best Nick Park style. It's very impressive. The narration by Geoffrey Rush is very good. I was skeptical when I saw that this film lasted for 20 minutes, but 20 minutes later I wondered where the time went. The film thrilled me and got me hooked and I was never bored. It turned and twisted and kept the audience interested.

All together a very good and very charming little short film about the outsiders in society. A movie well worth to watch.
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As one of "the others", I found this short quite funny and moving.
llltdesq14 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
To be quite frank, I expected Destino to win the Oscar and was surprised and a bit disappointed on hearing that another short had won instead. Until I finally saw Harvie Krumpet the other day. Here there be mild Spoilers.

Harvie Krumpet is both funny and frightening, sometimes at the same time. A modern-day version of Job (Job would probably look at Harvie's life and shudder), Harvie goes through a life that is tedious and tragic, all the while collecting "fakts" that are interspersed as graphics throughout the short.

There are sight gags aplenty here. You'll never look at a pair of false teeth in quite the same way after you watch this. Given that this is set from the 1920s through the 1980s, some of the references are topical and somewhat dated and I'm sure there are in-jokes and references that anyone more familiar with Australia would get that I missed, but I found this extremely engaging and well worth my time. Though there are a couple of nominees I haven't seen yet, I think that this one probably won the Oscar walking away, deserved to and certainly is no disgrace to the Academy in having done so. Happily it is currently in print. Most highly recommended.
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"Life is like a cigarette; smoke it to the butt."
ackstasis12 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Harvie Krumpet (born Harvek Milos Krumpetzki in 1922) has perhaps the worst luck in the world. Afflicted with Tourette's Syndrome from birth, he has always found it difficult to fit in. When his mother and father freeze to death outside their burnt-down home, and World War II comes to his native Poland, Harvie emigrates to Spotswood, Australia to start a new life. Here, his luck scarcely improves. It isn't long before Harvie is struck by lightning, he tragically loses a testicle and the metal plate in his head becomes magnetised. However, it would be unfair to suggest that Harvie never experiences the good parts of life – he spends many years of happiness with his understanding wife, and their adopted Thalidomide daughter grows to become a successful and intelligent lawyer.

In 2004, Adam Elliot's 'Harvie Krumpet' caused a sensation in Australia when it was awarded the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, beating out the likes of Pixar (in Bud Luckey's 'Boundin''). Elliot's poignant depiction of a man finding a reason to live amidst a life fraught with bad luck had a profound effect on audiences. Created entirely using claymation – a wonderful art that is growing scarcer with the advent of CGI animation – the film is great to look at, and narrated by the warm voice of Geoffrey Rush, a terrific Australian actor who is nowadays best recognised as Captain Barbossa from Gore Verbinski's 'Pirates of the Caribbean (2003).'

Despite Rush's narration adding wonderfully to the tone of the film, I felt that perhaps it was used too often. Harvie's every action is carefully and methodically narrated to us, even in those moments when I felt that the animation could easily have spoken for itself. Nevertheless, 'Harvie Krumpet' is a touching story of one humble immigrant's life, and is guaranteed to help you find hope and happiness in the moments when you thought there was none.
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a simple tale
primitifcinema1 August 2005
This is a simple tale but it feels very manipulative. It lacks pathos for it does not leave a room for imagination or a personal thought or time for reflection.

The animation is well done but I feel like it is too presentational. I would have preferred more images from behind, more space in the background and maybe then this would not feel so kitsch to me.

But for a Hollywood style film it works OK but it is very derivative of Aardman films and this is bothering to me. Perhaps a longer film will test if this maker can do without the voice-over.

I think the voice over is too glib.
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Poor Harvie, but great Story
brettshears24 August 2004
I actually went to the same school as the creator Adam Elliot, about ten years below him though but still noticed the interesting Aussie subtleties of this film, i.e. the bus stations. I loved Harvie Krumpet, like I loved his other films, plus I got meet first hand the people who influenced his life, I meet him when he did a speech at my school. He was a true gentlemen and another interesting fact, he went to school with Jamie Blanks, Director of Urban Legend.

I definitely recommend HK, even if you're not Aussie, and it was deserving of the Oscar, lets cut though the American crap for once.

Best Wishes



Ben Bourke
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A genius made this
alexeykorovin1 April 2018
I so rarely give a 10 on imdb but this cartoon (clayography) is a work of a genius. I'll recommend all people I know to watch it.

The topic is ordinary people and their lives. Adam Elliot handles it at least as masterfully as Dostoevski, just in a different medium (animation instead of literature). Reminded me of "Poor Folk".

Is there something like Nobel Prize for movies? Adam Elliot deserves it.
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life must persist
lee_eisenberg24 January 2016
Adam Elliot's Oscar-winning "Harvie Krumpet" focuses on a man who suffers repeated misfortunes but persists no matter what. Half look at those on the fringes of society, half reminder to never give up (and also contains a fair amount of fun facts). Harvie is not the world's most sophisticated person, but is one of the most precocious and benevolent guys whom you'll ever meet. The clay animation is similar to the style found in Nick Park's work. I would say that the cartoon deserved its Oscar win (although I haven't seen any of 2003's other nominees in the category). It's too bad that more people don't get a chance to see the Oscar-winning animated shorts. Some of these are among the most interesting works that I've seen. I definitely recommend this one.
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Uplifting or depressing? Your pick. Warning: Spoilers
This is a 22-minute short film, set in the 20th century, written and directed by Adam Elliot, who made the critically applauded "Mary and Max" a couple years later, but sadly has not worked on a new film since 2009. With "Harvie Krumpet" he won an Academy Award in the animated short film category against a Pixar entry and some other strong competition. The big strength of this short film is its emotion. There does not pass a minute without something significant happening to Harvie and there are constantly new impacts on his life, positive and negative ones. A whole lot about the movie is about illness, disease, disability and death, so it may not appeal to everybody, but the ending is actually one that will put a smile on your lips. Krumpet is easily one of the most interesting animated characters of the new millennium and I would love to watch a full feature on him. This is probably difficult though as there is constant narration here (with the characters not talking) and it might become a bit annoying if it goes on for 80 or more minutes. This is, of course, not a criticism against Geoffrey Rush who I adore as an actor and who is as brilliant here as with everything else he does. He has a huge share of this Academy Award. Anyway, I totally enjoyed watching this film. The animation is not the most modern, but it fits the storytelling and main character perfectly, better than any glorious animated special effects would. Would I call it uplifting or depressing? Well, I guess uplifting, but realistic is a more fitting terms and it includes the delights and tragedies of a lifetime in this film and I also loved the film's humor. Very well-done. Highly recommended and certainly a worthy Academy Award winner.
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jusco's review: Harvie Krumpet
jusco1524 December 2010
Three words to describe Adam Elliot's (master of clay animation) 22 min and 7 sec film Harvie Krumpet: sardonic and poignant. This Academy Award winning short film follows the title character, a naïve but optimistic Polish who ends up in Australia, and his unlucky life. That is an understatement; he gets struck by lightning, has his testicle removed, is plagued by Tourette's Syndrome, just to name a few. But one single phrase (Carpe diem) causes him to embrace life despite his unfortunate circumstances (hooray for nudist colonies and chickens!). Crafted in both a humorous and distressing manner – you will laugh one moment then sink back into depression out of sympathy for Harvie – and superbly narrated by Geoffrey Rush, this film will make you smile and want to lead a better life. After all, if Harvie Krumpet can do it, you can too.
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Cheddar20 January 2007
I just stumbled on this on Sundance Channel and can't say enough good things about it. Everything I've seen of Adam Elliot's amazes me with its sweetness, its humor but always with streaks of real-life pain. This isn't stop animation for the kids, or at least for very young kids. Nonetheless, go out of your way to see this -- recommend it very, very highly. Elliot's characters first seem like little goblins. Then their existences are so gorgeously fleshed out with details and very human experiences. Every character that is introduced reminds me of people I have known once Elliot's beautiful writing (and wonderful narration by Geoffrey Rush in this case) lets you get to know them.
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Laughter comes at a price ...
Jeff-133018 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Fakt: This is a work that matches its ambitions. It successfully takes on the task of using the most whimsical of mediums to ask the most difficult question: "Does life really matter?" Of course, that question is the knockout punch. You won't see it coming until you're punch-drunk from its sarcastic jabs about the absurdity of existence. Its humor definitely stays close the the pain that gives it power. Some may be offended by its disdainful, even disrespectful treatment of Christianity. Harvie Krumpet finds his answer to the question elsewhere. But, by making a point of mocking Christianity, this film invites not scorn, but a rebuttal work of equal artistic grade (a tall order). All-in-all this film accomplishes more in twenty minutes than most can in two hours. Not bad.
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Darkly Hilarious
valleyjohn24 May 2011
Harvie Krumpet is an Oscar winning short animated movie that was directed by Adam Elliot who made the brilliaint " Mary and Max" . Although this film was made 5 years earlier than M&M it is unmistakably the same in its animation and Humour. Harvie Krumpet is a Polish immigrant who has Torrette's , smokes 28 cigarettes a day , has a head that is magnetic and is a naturist. This is his hilarious life story of no matter is thrown at Harvie he is always going to bounce back. What i love about Adam Elliots films is it's brutal ,dark comedy aspect. The characters involved are not not normal people at all , they are people with extreme complications but you cant help but love them ! Harvie Krumpet is not something you would show the kids and especially not your ageing granny but if you likes Mary & Max you will like this too.
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Oscar well deserved
hypersonic4 March 2004
I have been a big fan of Adam Elliot ever since I saw his short animation 'Brother' at the Australian Film Institute screenings back in 2000. I knew that 'Harvie Krumpet' would be just as good, and I can report that after seeing it in late 2003 at the AFI screenings, I was not disappointed.

Harvie is a wonderful character and the film has great humour and insight.

I'm so pleased that Adam's success at the Oscars will result in many people seeking out this film.

For Australian readers, Harvie t-shirts and cards are available from the Australian Centre for Moving Image in Melbourne.
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Pointless and depressing...but fun!
MartinHafer5 January 2008
This is a strange little short film and the oddness and pointlessness of it all didn't come as a surprise to me since I'd already seen three other claymation shorts by the same man responsible for this film (Adam Elliot). In his previous shorts, which were shorter but very similar, he explored various people from his life (a cousin, uncle and brother) and I have no idea if these were real people or not--but I do know that the shorts were funny and strange yet quite touching.

In HARVIE KRUMPET, you have pretty much the same thing except the overall message seems to be that life is pretty meaningless but you should live it with gusto. Now I know that this sounds very depressing, and at times it is, but with all the weird animation and jokes, it still made me smile--even when it seem a bit creepy now and again. However, I am sure that this short is NOT for everyone--it's just so odd and seemingly pointless that many will be inclined to just give up and stop watching. However, please keep viewing the short--it is infectious--the more you watch, the more you want to see.

Decent animation, good narration (how the creator was able to get Geoffrey Rush to narrate is beyond me) and an odd and twisted style of story telling make this a fascinating video. If you like this, please try his others. They can all be found at Atoms Films' website as well as on the Sundance Channel.

By the way, I have seen a couple of the films that KRUMPET beat out in the Oscar race. BOUNDIN' is a well-made but rather bland Pixar short about a bouncing sheep and GONE NUTTY is a very pleasant short from Fox that stars that primordial mouse who chases the acorn in ICE AGE. While I really liked GONE NUTTY, it lacked innovation so of the three films KRUMPET does seem to be the best. I want to see DESTINOS, but since it's a Disney product, I doubt if I'll find it on the internet for free (Disney give away something free?!?! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!) and I don't know if it's on DVD.
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A touching stop-motion short that is also a little adult
Stompgal_8722 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I first heard of this short when I purchased a DVD to raise money for a 2004 tsunami appeal, which included a short clip from it (from Harvie's lightning strike to his new-found freedom as a nudist and an animal rights activist). When I finished watching Jambareeqi's review for 'Mary and Max,' also directed by Adam Elliot, he recommended 'Mary and Max' to those who enjoyed 'Harvie Krumpet.' Today I found out that I could view 'Harvie Krumpet' on YouTube and, despite its adult content in parts, I found it touching and enjoyable.

The animation style is different from other stop-motion styles such as Aardman for example and I could see why the characters in 'Mary and Max' looked pretty similar to the characters here. The colours were mostly on the dull side but certain backgrounds had a little more vibrancy. Even though the dialogue was minimal, it was saved by Geoffrey Rush's engaging narration that was as simple and effective as Barry Humphries's narration for 'Mary and Max.' Although the story has some adult content, it still focused on serious issues such as Tourette's syndrome (although not as prominent as Max's Asperger syndrome in 'Mary and Max'), asthma, bereavement, Alzheimer's disease, humiliation and overdose of drugs. The music may not be quite as memorable as that in 'Mary and Max' but I liked the brief operatic piece that plays when Harvie releases his freedom as well as the song 'God is Better than Football.' The characters had distinct appearances and personalities such as Harvie being naive yet knowledgeable for instance.

Overall, 'Harvie Krumpet' is a worthwhile stop-motion short and easily recommended for fans of 'Mary and Max.' 9/10.
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My favourite film of all time
tian-sushilover094 February 2014
THIS is my favourite film of all time. I watch it over and over again. Especially when I'm feeling down about the world.

I bought it on iTunes so that I'm able to view it at any time (on my iPhone).

It's a beautiful appreciation of the ridiculousness and the simple pleasures of life.

It's so lucky that Geoffrey Rush narrated it too; it needed his voice to do the brilliant script justice.

I think the fact that it is only 22 minutes also works in its favour. I believe this is one of the reasons that it is better than his second work, Mary and Max.

Mary and Max is still brilliant and is a film that I also keep on my iPhone so that I can watch it any time but it might be way too long. A lot of people seemed to give up on it too quickly.
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