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Mary and Max (2009)


Average Rating: 8.1/10
Reviews Counted: 61
Fresh: 58
Rotten: 3

Critics Consensus: Mary and Max is a lovingly crafted, startlingly inventive piece of animation whose technical craft is equaled by its emotional resonance.

Average Rating: 6.2/10
Reviews Counted: 5
Fresh: 3
Rotten: 2

Critics Consensus: Mary and Max is a lovingly crafted, startlingly inventive piece of animation whose technical craft is equaled by its emotional resonance.


Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 23,339



Movie Info

Spanning 20 years and two continents, "Mary and Max" tells of a pen-pal relationship between two very different people: Mary Dinkle, a chubby, lonely eight-year-old living in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia; and Max Horovitz, a severely obese, 44-year-old Jewish man with Asperger's Syndrome living in the chaos of New York City. As "Mary and Max" chronicles Mary's trip from adolescence to adulthood, and Max's passage from middle to old age, it explores a bond that survives much more than the … More

Drama , Animation , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
Adam Elliot
In Theaters:
Jun 15, 2010
IFC Films - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Mary and Max

All Critics (61) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (58) | Rotten (3) | DVD (4)

While perhaps it doesn't fully sustain its 90-odd-minute running time, Mary and Max is a moving celebration of oddness and friendship.

Full Review… | October 20, 2010
Time Out
Top Critic

The mixture of artistic sophistication and emotional crudeness cancel each other out.

Full Review… | November 20, 2009
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

In a perverse and often immature way, it forthrightly deals with mature issues of love, friendship, forgiveness and mental health. It requires a mature audience, but an audience nonetheless.

Full Review… | November 20, 2009
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Remarkable and poignant...

Full Review… | September 25, 2009
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Clearly a labor of love, but one destined perhaps to be loved by a very select few.

Full Review… | January 16, 2009
Top Critic

The universe that is inhabited by Mary and Max is breathtaking, and must have required years of painstaking attention to detail to forge.

Full Review… | October 21, 2014

"Mary and Max" dares to be equally funny and sad, making it as bittersweet as Max's favorite chocolate.

Full Review… | August 8, 2014

This clay animation feels as if it was written by the early Woody Allen. Actually the genius behind it is Adam Elliot, who wrote, designed and directed this eccentric, wryly funny story.

Full Review… | June 16, 2014
Times [UK]

A deliciously sentimental film whose offbeat sensibility manages to keep it out of the realm of schmaltz.

Full Review… | May 30, 2014

Unapologetically bleak and delivered with dashes of sweetness and sharp wit, Mary and Max deserves notice for being such an unexpected change of pace.

Full Review… | May 30, 2014
Film School Rejects

Ultimately, Mary and Max is about correspondence and lack of correspondence, about how our images and fantasies about others fail to match up to what they are like, and about the constitutive gaps and misfirings in any communicational practice.

Full Review… | June 18, 2012
Sight and Sound

Everyone and everything is bursting with a hyper-real life that is pitched perfectly to the tragi-comic tone of the story.

Full Review… | February 1, 2011
What Culture

Animated indie explores unusual friendship, heavy themes.

Full Review… | December 31, 2010
Common Sense Media

Funny, poignant and moving, this quirky and clever film oozes heart and insights into human nature.

Full Review… | November 18, 2010
Birmingham Post

The themes are nicely complemented by Elliot's animation style, which is full of wonky cityscapes and misshapen characters, something that gives this oddball story a lovely, tactile, handcrafted feel.

Full Review… | November 1, 2010

Has charm, curiosity and heart in spades.

Full Review… | October 27, 2010

An unorthodox but unforgettable valentine to a friendship that blossoms between two lonely people.

Full Review… | October 25, 2010
Daily Express

While occasionally over-sentimental, this is a wonderfully unique film.

Full Review… | October 22, 2010
Sun Online

It's a 20-year story that absorbs and beguiles, despite the ugly subject matter.

Full Review… | October 22, 2010

Elliot is a talent eccentric enough to make Nick Park look like an office drone, and the serious sadness underpinning his vision only makes the humour work better.

Full Review… | October 22, 2010
Daily Telegraph

Elliot's record of an unconventional friendship revels in grotesque detail and scatological humour, but yields unexpected depth and poignancy.

Full Review… | October 21, 2010
Total Film

A very odd, very unlikely animated film from Australia that manages to be sickly-cute, alarmingly grotesque, and right-on at the same time -- often in the very same scene.

Full Review… | October 21, 2010

Up may be a really good film, but compared to Mary and Max it's an episode of Thundercats.

October 21, 2010
Little White Lies

This tale of two outsiders is lovingly rendered in traditional claymation and Elliot's expressive creations are wonderfully brought to life by the talented voice cast...

Full Review… | October 21, 2010
Radio Times

An offbeat and charming animation that is destined to become a cult classic.

Full Review… | October 20, 2010
Empire Magazine

Audience Reviews for Mary and Max

As good as anything Pixar has made in terms of emotional power, but a lot less known. What a shame. Mary and Max is one of the best animated movies I have ever watched, and one of the most heart-wrenching movies I have ever seen, period.

Sam Barnett
Sam Barnett

Super Reviewer


This is a film that I think its hard to decide what I really think about this movie. I can decide that it is a good film but I can't decide if it was an okay film, a fantastic film, or a just a flat out incredible film. The main reason I can't really decide is that its such a depressing and such sad and horrible film. If i could decide on a full rating is that it is a great film and worthy of its rating of 94% its just not a good film for everyone to see especially children.

michael e.
Michael Edwards

Super Reviewer

Very unusual, absorbing animation, both sensitive and dark. Philip Seymour Hoffman steals the show as the voice of Max.

Louis Rogers
Louis Rogers

Super Reviewer


Back In 2003, director Adam Elliot released an animated short called "Harvie Krumpet". It went on to win an Oscar and like most animators after receiving this accolade, he went on to make a feature film. If this little film is anything to go buy, then it won't be the last we'll be seeing of this talented artist.
It tells the story of two, not so different but very unusual, pen pals; Mary, an 8 year old Australian girl living in Melbourne and Max a 44 year old man from New York. They both struggle to get on in life and have difficulty connecting with people yet miles apart, manage to strike up a heart-warming friendship that spans 20 years.
As we are introduced to young Mary Daisy Dinkle (voiced by Bethany Whitmore as a child and Toni Collette as an adult), we are told she has eyes the colour of muddy puddles and a birthmark the colour of poo. She gets teased at school and her parents are always busy. Her father is either working on taxidermy or attaching the strings to teabags and her mother is constantly 'testing' the sherry and listening to Cricket on the radio. The people around her have very little time for her. As a result, she randomly chooses a name from an American phonebook and writes a letter to Max Jerry Horovitz. Max (voiced by an unrecognisable Philip Seymour Hoffman) is just as lonely and finds the world very confusing and chaotic. He has trouble understanding people, is hyper sensitive and has trouble expressing his emotions. However, he decides to respond and an unlikely friendship develops between them. It's the commentary on their individual lives and personal experiences that provides this film with some off-beat and darkly humorous ideas. Mary is able to ask questions like: Do sheep shrink when it rains? Why old men wear their trousers so high and if a taxi drives backwards does it save you money? She also tells Max of her neighbour who's scared of going outside - "which is a disease called homophobia". She's sweet and innocent and like Max, shares that inability to fit in. Max is also allowed a rare chance in his life to open up. He tells her of his top five favourite-sounding words; "Ointment, Bumblebee, Vladivostok, Banana and Testicle". He also informs us, that when he was young, he invented an invisible friend called 'Mr. Ravioli'. His psychiatrist said that Max didn't need him anymore, so 'Mr. Ravioli' now just sits in the corner and reads self help books. The humour is easy-going and possesses a freshness and originality. The use of animated clay dolls and monochrome and sepia settings are also brilliantly done, helping the humorous characters and dialogue perfectly compliment each other. Despite a lightness of touch though, it also addresses some deeper themes; alcoholism, mental illness, body image, suicide and depression which make this a film more suited to adults but that doesn't stop it from being a delightful and highly inventive piece of work.
It's been a long time since I seen Adam Elliot's short "Harvie Krumpet" but I'll be keeping an eye out for it again after this creative, emotional and poignant little treat.

Mark Walker

Super Reviewer

Mary and Max Quotes

Max Jerry Horowitz:
You are my friend, my only friend.
– Submitted by Matthew B (6 months ago)
Max Jerry Horowitz:
Dr Bernard Hazelhof says it is good to have goals but not stupid ones like mine.
– Submitted by Thet M (9 months ago)
Que Sera, Sera
– Submitted by RAHUL B (20 months ago)
Max Jerry Horowitz:
Jurors are outstanding members of the community who haven't murdered anybody.
– Submitted by Alexandar T (21 months ago)
Max Jerry Horowitz:
Did you know that turtles can breathe through their anuses?
– Submitted by Moira R (21 months ago)
Mary Daisy Dinkle (child):
I wish he was my boyfriend, then we can be in love and do sexing!
– Submitted by Moira R (21 months ago)

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