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Mary and Max (2009)

tomatometer

95

Average Rating: 8.1/10
Reviews Counted: 55
Fresh: 52 | Rotten: 3

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

60

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

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

audience

92

liked it
Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 22,726

My Rating

Movie Info

Academy Award-winning Harvie Krumpet director Adam Elliot returns to the world of clay animation with this simple tale of the innocent correspondence between a portly eight year old girl from the suburbs of Melbourne and a morbidly obese, middle-aged Jewish New Yorker suffering from Asperger's Syndrome. On the surface it would seem that Mary (Toni Collette) and Max (Philip Seymour Hoffman) would have little in common, but over the course of twenty years, the unlikely pen pals exchange letters

G,

Drama, Animation, Comedy

Adam Elliot

Jun 15, 2010

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All Critics (56) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (52) | 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.

October 20, 2010 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

November 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Comments (16)
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop 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.

November 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Remarkable and poignant...

September 25, 2009 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

January 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety | Comments (6)
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

February 1, 2011 Full Review Source: What Culture
What Culture

Animated indie explores unusual friendship, heavy themes.

December 31, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Comments (2)
Common Sense Media

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

November 18, 2010 Full Review Source: Birmingham Post
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.

November 1, 2010 Full Review Source: Scotsman

Has charm, curiosity and heart in spades.

October 27, 2010 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

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

October 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

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

October 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Sun Online
Sun Online

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.

October 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

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

October 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Independent
Independent

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

October 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Total Film
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.

October 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

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

October 21, 2010 | Comments (2)
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...

October 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

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

October 20, 2010 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Too long and wretched for children (Max is obese, receives electric shock therapy, and lives a life of neurotic misery) and yet surely too "kooky" for any sane adult (irritatingly camp words such as "smudgling").

October 20, 2010 Full Review Source: Financial Times | Comments (11)
Financial Times

Mary and Max emerges as a tale that's both funny and sad, with Elliot's screenplay finding a perfect emotional pitch throughout.

October 20, 2010 Full Review Source: The Skinny
The Skinny

It's what Pixar might come up with if their characters found themselves off the rails.

October 20, 2010 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

While Mary and Max gets a lot of things right, I think it gets the dynamics of friendship more right than everything else.

September 13, 2010 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Although a tad sappy and heavy-handed at times, Mary and Max fidgets and wiggles its way into our good spirits by the time it reaches its endearing conclusion.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Cinematical
Cinematical

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.
December 17, 2012
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.
November 9, 2012
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.
October 27, 2012
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.
June 6, 2012
MrMarakai

Super Reviewer

    1. Max Jerry Horowitz: You are my friend, my only friend.
    – Submitted by Matthew B (9 days ago)
    1. Max Jerry Horowitz: Dr Bernard Hazelhof says it is good to have goals but not stupid ones like mine.
    – Submitted by Thet M (3 months ago)
    1. Narrator: Que Sera, Sera
    – Submitted by RAHUL B (14 months ago)
    1. Max Jerry Horowitz: Jurors are outstanding members of the community who haven't murdered anybody.
    – Submitted by Alexandar T (15 months ago)
    1. Max Jerry Horowitz: Did you know that turtles can breathe through their anuses?
    – Submitted by Moira R (15 months ago)
    1. Mary Daisy Dinkle (child): I wish he was my boyfriend, then we can be in love and do sexing!
    – Submitted by Moira R (15 months ago)
View all quotes (14)

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Foreign Titles

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  • Mary et Max (FR)
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