Mary and MaxApril 9, 2009
A tale of friendship between two unlikely pen pals: Mary, a lonely, eight-year-old girl living in the suburbs of Melbourne, and Max, a forty-four-year old, severely obese man living in New York.
Release Year: 2009
Rating: 8.2/10 (37,071 voted)
Stars: Toni Collette, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Eric Bana
In the mid-1970's, a homely, friendless Australian girl of 8 picks a name out of a Manhattan phone book and writes to him; she includes a chocolate bar. She's Mary Dinkle, the only child of an alcoholic mother and a distracted father. He's Max Horowitz, living alone in New York, overweight, subject to anxiety attacks. He writes back, with chocolate. Thus begins a 20-year correspondence, interrupted by a stay in an asylum and a few misunderstandings. Mary falls in love with a neighbor, saves money to have a birthmark removed and deals with loss. Max has a friendship with a neighbor, tries to control his weight, and finally gets the dream job. Will the two ever meet face to face?
Mary Daisy Dinkle
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Max Jerry Horovitz
Ian 'Molly' Meldrum
Sometimes perfect strangers make the best friends.
Release Date: 9 April 2009
Filming Locations: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Box Office Details
Budget: AUD 8,240,000
Opening Weekend: AUD 156,169
(9 April 2009)
Did You Know?
The postage stamps in the film used by Mary feature an image of Dame Edna Everage, a character played by comedian Barry Humphries, who also narrates the film.
Errors in geography:
When the story about the character (Max's upstairs neighbor's friend) who buys a Ferrari is told, the car is shown as having right-hand drive. It's extremely unlikely someone in the US would buy a right-hand drive Ferrari, although of course that would be common in Australia where the movie was made.
Max Jerry Horovitz:
I was born Jewish and used to believe in God but I've since read many books that have proven God is just a figment of my imagination. People like to believe in God 'cause it answers difficult questions, like where did the universe came from, do worms go to heaven and why do old ladies have blue hair. And even though I'm an atheist, I still wear my yarmulke as it keeps my brain warm.
Mary & Max – wonderfully unique and personal animation
There's a constant stream of animated films these days, but mostly
they're either glossy Hollywood product (Pixar/Dreamworks), or Japanese
anime. For adults wanting something different we have to wait for the
likes of The Nightmare Before Christmas, Waltz With Bashir, Persepolis,
or Aardman's films to turn up. Mary & Max is one of these films that
comes as a complete departure from all the others, both in visual and
storytelling style, and sticks in the mind because of it. I won't
repeat the plot here, so I'll just mention a few pros and cons. The
cons are obvious. Some people will be put off by the almost constant
narration (which took me a while to get used to), the rather numerous
calamities (a lot more than you'd expect if you thought this was just a
kids film), and the sadness within some of these people's stories. It's
actually a little surprising that the film got made without the people
financing it demanding a script that was more tailored to appeal to a
wider audience. What we get is something that feels a whole lot more
personal than the higher profile animated films. It feels personal, and
therefore real, and the explanation is that it was written from life by
a director who has a real feeling and sympathy for people who don't
quite fit into the world, and feel alienated or are misunderstood by
others. Mary was partly inspired by the director's own childhood (and
there's a little bit of Toni Collette's Muriel Heslop thrown in I
suspect), and Max is also based on a real person he's been pen friends
with (but so far has never met in person). The way the film handles his
Asperger's Syndrome just feels different to how you'd normally see such
an issue handled on screen. There's a constant stream of humour
(ironic, black, childish), and I really enjoyed the small perfect
touches on growing up in an Australian suburb in the 70's and 80's, and
the depiction of grey New York, as it appears to the easily frightened
Max. The animation is constantly a joy to watch, and I highly recommend
seeing it on the big screen where it can be properly appreciated in all
it's hand-made glory.