Mary and Max (2009) – Review

Adam Elliot's MARY AND MAX

In Mary and Max, sometimes perfect strangers make the best friends.

MARY and MAX (2009) is a brilliant stop motion, claymation film by Adam Elliot (of the film Harvey Krumpet)  and is based on a true story. It explores the relationship between two people; whom would have otherwise never have met. The film depicts a very intimate perspective on different, very real, human topics such as autism, depression, isolation, loneliness, alcoholism, obesity and suicide. It is a tragic-comedy and surprisingly entertaining even with the heavy overtones of each of the main characters idiosyncrasies and emotionally complex life issues.

The film is almost entirely narrated by Humpries as the characters go along. There are even times when Humpries say one thing and the character does the very opposite. When we first meet Mary, she is staring out of the window at the goings on and people in her neighborhood. Her mother and father are extremely involved in their obsessive activities and are neglectful of Mary. So she spends her time daydreaming about the world.

She uses Sherry for everything.
She uses Sherry for everything.

Indulging herself by watching the Noblets, her favorite television show, while eating a can of sweetened condensed milk. Ethel, her best pal, accompanies her. Ethel, a rooster, was found on the side of the road by her father, who was going to taxidermy him, before realizing he was still alive.

Max, an obese, 44-year-old with Asperger’s syndrome, lives alone and likes to watch people. He attempts to understand why they do the things they do, like smoking and dropping cigarette butts.   Which he irritatingly picks up and keeps tally.  He does not have any family.  His mother died when he was young, but Max does have a psychiatrist who tells him to get in shape.  So, Max attends over-eaters anonymous meetings, which he doesn’t particularly care for.  He also likes to watch the Noblets just as much as Mary does.Mary's mail post

What radiates throughout this film, is the importance of how a friendship can still prevail regardless of barriers, regardless of religious differences and whether trying to find out if babies are truly found at the bottom of beer glasses or cola cans. Mary and Max is a deeply involved and brilliantly narrated story about a very special friendship. It’s proof of why we go to the movies, and to, maybe, find out a bit more about ourselves within them. Overall, aside from the obvious dark and emotionally jarring content of this film, Mary and Max is a worthwhile film to watch.

Mary Daisy Dinkle is eight years, three months and nine days old. She lives in Australia.  Her favorite TV show is the Noblets. She loved the Noblets because everything was brown, her favorite color, and the Noblets had many friends and lived in teapots.  Her favorite food was sweetened condensed milk with chocolate as her close second. She is in love with her neighbor, Damian, who lives across the street. Mary went to school that she did not like. She was always picked on.  She always sat alone at lunch time. And at eight years, three months and nine days old, Mary forged the most unlikely of friendships.

Max Jerry Horowitz lives in New York City. The reason Max also enjoyed watching the Noblets was because they lived in a delineated and articulated social structure and also because they had lots of friends. He has trouble understanding non-verbal signals, and Mary Butterworth was always looking at him during his over-eaters meetings. He especially didn’t like it when she kissed him without his permission.

Max has pets as well. He has a cat named Hal, a fish named Henry (VIII for now) and three small snails named after famous scientists. Even though Max finds humans interesting, he just has trouble understanding them. However, he finds that he can have a friend.

A very best friend, named Mary Daisy Dinkle.

  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 4 stars
  • Excellent

  • MARY
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  • Last modified: 2015-08-06

Review Summary:

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.

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