Mary and Max

Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 64


Audience Score

User Ratings: 25,107
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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 average friendship's ups-and-downs. Like Elliot and Coombs''Oscar(R) winning animated short "Harvie Krumpet", "Mary and Max"is both hilarious and poignant as it takes us on a journey that explores friendship, autism, taxidermy, psychiatry, alcoholism, where babies come from, obesity, kleptomania, sexual differences, trust, copulating dogs, religious differences, agoraphobia and many more of life's surprises.


Toni Collette
as Mary Daisy Dinkle (adult)
Philip Seymour Hoffman
as Max Jerry Horowitz
Eric Bana
as Damien
Bethany Whitmore
as Mary Daisy Dinkle (child)
Ian "Molly" Meldrum
as Homeless Man
John Flaus
as Ken/Len
Julie Forsyth
as Kissing Woman/Bus Stop Mother
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Critic Reviews for Mary and Max

All Critics (64) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (61) | Rotten (3)

  • 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.

    Jun 16, 2014 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Kate Muir

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • 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.

    Oct 21, 2010 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Andrew Pulver

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

    Oct 21, 2010 | Rating: 5/5
  • While perhaps it doesn't fully sustain its 90-odd-minute running time, Mary and Max is a moving celebration of oddness and friendship.

    Oct 20, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Cath Clarke

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • The mixture of artistic sophistication and emotional crudeness cancel each other out.

    Nov 20, 2009 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Nov 20, 2009 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Mary and Max

  • Nov 08, 2017
    Magnificent film voiced, incredibly, by the late, great Phil Seymour Hoffman and Toni Collette. This is a special movie. The Claymation is astounding, with beautifully muted tones. It fits the mood perfectly. Color is used for emphasis as needed. The story is touching, funny, heartbreaking, and genuine. There is real emotion and honesty in this movie, and if you are willing to pay attention, the payoff is huge. I've seen this movie dozens of times, and I'm always amazed.
    Mark H Super Reviewer
  • Sep 21, 2017
    Gut-wrenching loneliness is at the heart of this work that drives two dissimilar though tortured souls from opposite sides of the world to find each other. Along the way are marriage, death, mental illness and even separation - and how can one separate from someone who you've have never seen? The overall is touching, but sad. Though rendered in animation there's no juvenile cop-out for this mature work about mature themes.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 15, 2014
    Mary and Max is by far the best clay animation film I've ever seen. Mary and Max were two unlikely pen pals. Mary was an 8 year old girl who has a birthmark with the colour of poo on her forehead, her family weren't any better. Her mother was an alcoholic kleptomaniac who offered little comfort to her; her father was always busy at work with a strange interest in taxidermy of birds. Max was an obese, middle aged, Jewish man with Asperger's syndrome. The only things they had in common were that they both enjoy collecting action figures from a cartoon and that they both had no friends. This unlikely friendship grew over the year, however, Mary became a psychologist and publishing a book about Max which enraged Max, would their friendship last? I enjoy the really bleak atmosphere and characterization of the protagonists, nothing good was going to happen to them and we are made to know it immediately. The grey scale clay figures and set designs were really well crafted. There were some really controversial subjects being discussed with ease, not only Elliot was able to poke fun of the pop culture, he was also able to show some deep insight into the lives of the marginalized groups. The narration was simply superb like his earlier works, as the characters/narrator narrates, the events happen at the same time to help the audience visualize the words in a dark, yet humourous way. I must admit that I was wallowing in tears at the end. It really touched the soft spot within me as I've always been fascinated with Asperger's syndrome. Mary and Max is a must see.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • May 31, 2014
    Mary and Max was not only a feast for the eyes but also a food for the mind and the soul. It was beautiful in its sadness.
    Maymay A Super Reviewer

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