Mary and Max (2009)

I discovered Mary and Max last year, at the end of December, thanks to Dell from Dell on Movies who posted on Twitter his old review of the film. I didn't read it though because I was on my phone, but I screenshot the tweet so that I could remember to check the film out. Which I finally did and I'm very glad as Mary and Max is such a witty and warm film. 

In the 1970s, Mary Daisy Dinkle (Bethany Whitmore) is a lonely 8-year-old girl who lives in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, with her alcoholic mother (RenĂ©e Geyer) and a distracted father. She spends her time with her rooster, watching her favourite shows and eating sweetened condensed milk straight from the can. One day, while at the post office with her mother, she spots a New York City telephone book and, as she becomes curious about Americans, she randomly picks Max Jerry Horowitz (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and writes him a letter in the hope that he will become her pen friend. When he gets the letter, Max, who is an obese, 44-year-old Jewish turned atheist who has trouble bonding with people, has a panic attack. He eventually decides to write her back. 

Mary and Max's story is so original, compelling and fascinating, and well-developed, that it grabs your attention right from the start and keeps you glued to the screen until the very last scene. It takes some interesting and surprising turns which keep you curious to see what will happen to their friendship and their lives as the plot moves forward. 

It is one of the most beautiful and charming stories about loneliness and friendship I've ever seen and it also handles the Asperger's Syndrom which Max suffers from in a way we are not used to seeing on screen and does a wonderful job at showing what people with Asperger's Syndrom go through every day.

One of Mary and Max's peculiarities is the way the story is told. This is one of those movies that is told rather than shown. I have to admit that the almost constant voice-over narration by Barry Humphries is a little annoying and feels invasive and kinda put me off at first, but eventually, not only I got used to it, but I really appreciate it as it adds charm and poetry to the story. 

Icon Entertainment International
Humphries's isn't the only voice that is a pleasure for the ears. The unique and lovable main characters, who are also complex, developed and made interesting by their quirks and traits, are voiced beautifully. Bethany Whitmore is quite impressive as young Mary as she conveys the character's innocence, Toni Collette is also good as adult Mary and Eric Bana does a good job too as Mary's future husband Damien. However, the stand out easily is Philip Seymour Hoffman. He is unrecognizable as Max and finds the way to make his voice fit the character to perfection.

In addition, Mary and Max is also filled with ironic, bizarre and clever black humour which is balanced with poignant drama.

At last but not least there's the visual aspect, the reason I decided to watch Mary and Max in the first place. The clay non-stop animation is a joy to watch, but the use of colours is easily the most fascinating part of the visuals. Using only grey tones with a splash of red now and then when showing Max is very effective as it makes us feel like Max feels.


  1. Yes! You watched it! And you loved it! I love this movie so much and so glad you took me up on it. I'm also feeling redeemed since I think you weren't too fond of my last few recommendations.

    Thanks for the links!