Mary and Max (2009)

Mary and Max (2009) Poster
Does sheep shrink when it rains? Sometimes perfect strangers make the best friends.

Comments on Movie: Mary and Max (2009)
"Although Mary and Max earned rave reviews after its release in 2009 and features on IMDB’s top 250, it still is criminally underseen by most movie fans." - Paul Sorrells, What Culture.

"This is a masterpiece that is rich in character, deft humor, emotional complexity, and is a film that deserves to be seen around the world." - Paul Fischer Friday, Film Monthly.

"I can't remember seeing an animated feature so dark and funny and bizarre and sad, all at the same time." - James Plath, Movie Metropolis.

"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." - Peter Howell, The Star.

"Somehow this friendship endures, through thick and thin, and enriches the lives of both characters, as well as all of those who are lucky enough to watch it. And if you do, I can guarantee that you’ll laugh, you’ll cringe, and you may even cry – I know I did." - Michael Edwards, What Culture.

"The obscurity of love, life and death, all can be felt in this film!" - Rosalyn Lim.

Comedy Drama Stop Motion Australian Animated Feature Rosalyn's Favorite

Mary and Max (2009) Trailer

Mary and Max (2009) at a glance
This is the first entry for my animated film marathon. I decided to write about this film instead of the mainstream ones first because it is critically underrated. How could this film not to be one of the top 100 highest-grossing animated film? It is not even on highest-grossing stop motion films. Sigh. Box office is just a number but it also means not many people have seen this so I would like to introduce something different to you-who-is-reading-this!

Mary and Max (2009) Synopsis
Mary and Max (2009) is a claymated feature film from the creators of the Academy Award winning short animation Harvie Krumpet (2003). It is a simple tale of pen-friendship between two very different people; Mary Dinkle, a chubby lonely eight years old girl living in the suburbs of Melbourne, and Max Horovitz, a 44 years old, severely obese, Jewish man with Asperger's Syndrome living in the chaos of New York.

Spanning twenty years and two continents, Mary and Max's friendship survives much more than the average diet of life's ups and downs. Like Harvie Krumpet, Mary and Max is innocent but not naive, as it takes us on a journey that explores friendship, autism, taxidermy, psychiatry, alcoholism, where babies come from, obesity, kleptomania, sexual differences, trust, anxiety, anger, copulating dogs, religious difference, agoraphobia, mental disorders, depression and much much more.

Movie Review: Mary and Max (2009)
Mary's alcoholic mother, Vera Dinkle.

Mary and Max (2009) undoubtedly is a display of clay animation filmmaking prowess. It has spectacular cinematography, fantastic clay sculptures, lovely characters, wonderful voice acting and a genuine story that is just so good.

Max at the streets.

To be honest, I do not know how to properly describe this animation film. The story, the art, the cultural significance. It is realistic yet unusual, which will appeal to the mass but it is also quite depressing as it is never shy to portray painful social issues such as but does not limit to abandonment, loneliness, bullies, suicides and accidental deaths.

Mary stamping the letter she's going to send to Max.

Nevertheless, Mary and Max (2009) is not a confusing animated film really, it is in fact quite enjoyable to watch and funny at times but it could leave us emotionally confused afterwards if you decide to reflect on it like me. The obscurity of love, life and death, all can be felt in this film!

Your drawing is an interesting visual portrayal of yourself.

Mary and Max (2009) is definitely one of my favorite animated film of all time. I only wish they would let us know the exchanges between Mary and Max while she's pregnant before the end. You should watch this if you haven't!

Movie Ratings
Will write a page regarding this and add this to all animated feature entries in the future.

Who will like this?
Mary, a renowned researcher.

I think aspiring psychologists will be inspired by Mary and atheists might fall in love with Max. Other than clayanimation and stop motion animated film enthusiasts, people who would like to watch something different than the usual animation that touches on reality, friendship and family will also be impressed with Mary and Max (2009). This film is great for Autism-awareness events as well as movie nights that aims to promote concern for psychological issues and humanity too.

PS. I can't brain anyone who love movies especially animated films not to like this though, as the clay animation technique seems nothing less than awesome. Unless you would somehow be utterly offended by the fact that Max is a Jew turned Atheist and he said something like God doesn't exist or your sense of humor just cannot accept the scripted story of where do baby come from, then you should avoid watching this film at all cost! :o

Details of the movie
Director: Adam Elliot
Producer: Melanie Coombs
Story: Adam Elliot
Screenplay: Adam Elliot 
Cinematography: Gerald Thompson
Music: Dale Cornelius
Starring: Toni Collette, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Humphries
Full Credit: [IMDb]
Distributor: Icon Entertainment International
Country: Australia
Language: English
Genre: Black Comedy Drama
Running time: 92 mins 
Budget: AUD 8,240,000 est.
Box office: USD 1,725,381 est.

Official website(s)
Mary and Max (2009) Behind the Scenes
These are some of their Production Fakts. For more, visit their official website.
  1. It took them almost five years from script to screen to make.
  2. There are approximately 132,480 individual frames in the film, which was shot on six high-resolution Canon digital stills cameras.
  3. 133 separate sets were constructed for the film. The film is set in the suburbs of Australia and the metropolis of New York, with two very different colour palettes, (brown for Australia, grey for America). 
  4. The diversity and complexity of the sets was extreme; everything from a desert island to a chocolate heaven needed to be made. 
  5. The New York skyline set was the biggest and most time consuming and took the entire art department crew of twenty people, two months to complete.
  6. 475 miniature props were made, everything from a miniature hand blown wine glass to a fully functioning Underwood typewriter which took one of their prop makers 9 weeks to design and build.
  7. 147 tailor made costumes were designed and created by their two costume designers. 
  8. Mary's wedding dress was based on Lady Diana's, and Ivy's jumpsuit was modelled on the photographer Annie Liebowitz's mother's jumpsuit.
  9. 808 miniature Earl Grey tea bag boxes were hand cut, folded, glued, wrapped and airbrushed. At one point all staff helped create these tea bag boxes, with everyone from the producer, to the runner having a hand in these.
  10. 120 Noblets were made and their creators were given a great deal of freedom with their designs, some of which are quite risqué! (sexually suggestive)
  11. 73 kiloes of plasticine were used to make the mouths, hands and original sculpts of the puppets. Each batch of plasticine had to be perfectly colour matched and mixed for exact texture, consistency and melting point.
  12. 12 litres of water based sex lube (or 2,400 teaspoons) were needed to create everything from a tear to a surging jungle river. Their runner was always reluctant whenever he had to go to the chemist for another dozen tubes. 
  13. To feed their crew, their chef used over 260 kilos of tomatoes, 280 kilos of coffee beans, and 2600 litres of milk. Over 7800 muffins were consumed, 5236 by the director. 
Favorite Movie Character
I would prefer to live somewhere much quieter like the moon.

My favorite character is Max. Despite he is affected by Asperger syndrome, he is always being true to himself and has interesting intelligent thoughts. Max is a strong guy and he always move on no matter what life throws at him. He also shares the similar love for chocolates with me. However, getting a lifetime supply of chocolates is probably one of the last things I would thought of if I become ridiculously rich because I have numerous goals in life. They might sound stupid so I am never sharing them until I achieve them! 

Mary and Max (2009) Movie Quotes
This is rather difficult to compile as I liked everything I hear but here are some. :<

  1. How could someone be an accident?
  2. Vera liked listening to the cricket while baking and her main ingredient was always sherry. She told Mary it was a type of tea for grown-ups that needed constant testing.
  3. She put things up her dress to save on plastic bags.
  4. People had weird names in America, Mary Daisy Dinkle thought to herself. 
  5. Maybe in the USA they found babies elsewhere. 
  6. There was enough ugliness in the world.
  7. Mary drank his words like a bowl of alphabet soup.
  8. Max knew nothing about love. It was as foreign to him as scuba diving and he'd had an appalling history of getting it all wrong.
  9. Romance and love was a mysterious language he'd given up on.
  10. If only there was a mathematical equation for love.
  11. Its logic was as foreign to him as... as a salad sandwich. 
  12. They marinated him in a cocktail of drugs and performed the usual "therapeutic" procedures.
  13. Maybe America had run out of ink. 
  14. Max was sensible with his sudden wealth and had bought a lifetime supply of chocolate and the complete Noblet collection. Two of his life goals had come true.
  15. Mary had given Max a taste of real friendship
  16. True friendship is seen through the heart, not through the eyes, and that it was time he wrote to Mary to reveal his true self, warts and all. 
  17. Mary and Max's friendship was resuscitated and her tears were the best gift he'd ever received.
  18. Do sheep shrink when it rains? 
  19. Why do old men wear their pants so high? 
  20. Do gooses get goosebumps? 
  21. Are there Noblets in heaven? 
  22. If a taxi goes backwards, does the driver owe you money?
  23. Each nourished the other and, as Mary grew taller, Max grew wider their friendship becoming stronger than the glue on Mary's Noblets.
  24. Humans were endlessly illogical.
  25. Why did they throw out food when there were children starving in lndia? 
  26. Why did they clear the rainforests when they needed the oxygen? 
  27. And why did they create bus timetables when they never ran on time? 
  28. He agreed with his favourite physicist (Einstein) that there are only two things infinite the universe and man's stupidity.
  29. Noel Norman Dinkle attached his last string and, after 40 years and 40 million tea bags, he retired.
  30. It's been hard to watch you become a remnant of the person I once loved.
  31. Your research into mental illness has been admirable but your idealistic pursuit to remedy it has been misguided. 
  32. You have to realise you are not a magic beauty cream you can smooth on the world to rid it of its wrinkles. 
  33. I love you, Mary, but I love Desmond more. 
  34. I hope one day your heart will heal and we can be friends.
  35. I have a rooster called Ethel that looks like this. He doesn't lay eggs but will one day.
  36. Where do babies come from in America? Do they come from cola cans? 
  37. In Australia they are found in beer glasses.
  38. It would be great if you could write back and be my friend.
  39. Piranhas are goldfish that have teeth.
  40. He's scared of outside, which is a disease called homophobia. (agoraphobia)
  41. I'm saving to buy a castle in Scotland and marry a man called Earl Grey. 
  42. In your letter, you said you had no friends. Well, neither do I.
  43. I wish I could peel it off like a bandaid.
  44. Mum couldn't thread a needle 'cos she'd been testing the sherry so she used pegs instead.
  45. When I got home, I climbed into my secret place till dinner time.
  46. My teacher, Mrs Pendergast, says I should smile more. I told my mum and she draw a big smile on me.
  47. My tears are smudgling my words.
  48. When I told Bernie Clifford I'll be in charge of all the chocolate in heaven and he wouldn't get any, he cried.
  49. Mum says I am fat too and I'm growing up to be a heifer, which I think is a type of cow.
  50. Maybe you should only eat things beginning with the letter of each day. On Mondays you could only eat milkshakes, marshmallows and...mustard.
  51. Valentine's Day is soon and I want to give Damian a present so he can love me.
  52. I've wasted all my money on something pointless when I should have been saving to see you.
  53. All I want to say is that love is obviously not for me.
  54. But her excitement suddenly dribbled away like a chocolate in the sun.
  55. Only an arm's length away but as distant as the moon. 
  56. She lost interest in the world and it lost interest in her as a horrible apparition began to haunt.
  57. Max had trouble understanding non-verbal signals. Flirting was as foreign to him as jogging.
  58. I am trying to lose weight because my psychiatrist, Dr Bernard Hazelhof, says a healthy body equals a healthy mind. He says my mind is not that healthy.
  59. Your drawing is an interesting visual portrayal of yourself.
  60. Unfortunately, in America, babies are not found in cola cans. I asked my mother when I was four and she said they came from eggs laid by rabbis. If you aren't Jewish, they're laid by Catholic nuns. If you're an atheist, they're laid by dirty, lonely prostitutes. So this is where babies come from in America.
  61. Do you have a pet kangaroo?
  62. When I was young, I invented an invisible friend called Mr Ravioli. My psychiatrist says I don't need him anymore so he just sits in the corner and reads.
  63. Butts are bad because they wash out to sea and fish smoke them and become nicotine dependent. I am just joking because, of course, it is impossible for a cigarette to remain lit underwater. Also, fish do not have pockets to keep cigarette lighters in.
  64. I enjoy entering the lottery and have chosen the same numbers for 9 years.
  65. People like to believe in God because it answers complicated questions
  66. Even though I'm an atheist, I still wear my yarmulke as it keeps my brain warm.
  67. A frisbee is a circular plastic disc that people throw at each other. It is like a boomerang but it does not come back.
  68. I didn't get paid much but got free cookies and coffee. 
  69. Jurors are outstanding members of the community who haven't murdered anybody.
  70. Sometimes I used to pretend I was an intergalactical robot.
  71. One time the police took me in for questioning but let me go when they decided I wasn't a threat to anybody except myself.
  72. I would prefer to live somewhere much quieter like the moon.
  73. I don't like crowds, bright lights, sudden noises or strong smells. New York has all these especially the smells. I often wear nose and ear plugs when I go outside.
  74. I find humans interesting but I have trouble understanding them. I think, however, I will understand and trust you.
  75. You appear very happy and I think you would smell like a shrimp as I know Australia has a lot of shrimps.
  76. Can you speed-read? I have taught myself to read two pages at once one eyeball per page.
  77. I have never eaten sweetened condensed milk but I will try some this week. 
  78. PPPS. I have never used a condom.
  79. Your birthmark is made of chocolate, which means when you get to heaven you will be in charge of all the chocolate.
  80. This of course is a lie I do not like lies but in this case I think it will be of benefit. 
  81. I wish I could be in charge of all the chocolate but, of course, I cannot because of my atheism.
  82. Last week I invented canned spaghetti hamburgers. Recipes are like mathematical equations.
  83. I once ate a watermelon bigger than my head but not all at once.
  84. It would be good if there was a "Fat Fairy". She would be a bit like the Tooth Fairy but would suck out your fat.
  85. I think I will write a letter to the Mayor and suggest this.
  86. I have never told her this as Dr Bernard Hazelhof said this would also be impolite.
  87. People often think I am tactless and rude. I cannot understand how being honest can be...improper. Maybe this is why I don't have any friends of course except for you.
  88. A real friend has been one of my three goals in life. The other two are to own every Noblet and a lifetime supply of chocolate. Dr Bernard Hazelhof says it is good to have goals but not stupid ones like mine.
  89. Do not worry about not smiling. My mouth hardly ever smiles but it does not mean I am not smiling inside my brain.
  90. Did you know that turtles can breathe through their anuses?
  91. Each time I received one of your letters, I had a severe anxiety attack.
  92. I prefer "Aspie" for short.
  93. I find the world very confusing and chaotic because my mind is very literal and logical. 
  94. I have trouble understanding the expressions on people's faces.
  95. When I was younger, I made a book to help me when I was confused. 
  96. Ivy was hard to understand because of her wrinkles and because her eyebrows weren't real.
  97. I have bad handwriting, am hypersensitive, clumsy and can get very concerned. 
  98. I like solving problems. Ivy said this is a good thing. 
  99. And finally, no 5. I have trouble expressing my emotions. 
  100. I do not like it when he says this. I do not feel disabled, defective or I need to be cured. I like being an Aspie. 
  101. It would be like trying to change the colour of my eyes. 
  102. There is one thing I wish I could change, however. I wish I could cry properly. 
  103. I squeeze and squeeze but nothing...comes out. 
  104. I cry when I cut onions but this does not count.
  105. I have also invented some new words "confuzzled", which is being confused and puzzled at the same time, "snirt", which is a cross between snow and dirt, and "smushables" which are squashed groceries you find at the bottom of the bag. 
  106. I have sent a letter to the Oxford Dictionary people asking them to include my words but I have not heard back.
  107. There is a woman there called Marjorie Buttersworth who confuzzles me. She kisses me without my permission so tonight I have decided to rub onions under my armpits to repel her.
  108. PPS. Not much has happened since I last wrote except for my manslaughter charges, lotto win and lvy's death.
  109. I cannot express myself very clearly at this moment and so I will list my emotions in the order they feel most intense hurt, confuzzledness, betrayal, discomfort, distress and wheeziness. This last one is not really an emotion but I thought you should know about it anyway.
  110. Dear Mayor Ridiculani, on Monday I counted 27 people illegally dropping cigarette butts. I would like to recommend the fine be increased to a minimum of $1 million as a stronger deterrent.
  111. Dear Mary, please find enclosed my entire Noblet collection as a sign that I forgive you.
  112. When I received your book, the emotions inside my brain felt like they were in a tumble dryer, smashing into each other.
  113. The hurt felt like when I accidentally stapled my lips together.
  114. The reason I forgive you is because you are not perfect. 
  115. You are imperfect, and so am l. 
  116. All humans are imperfect, even the man outside my apartment who litters.
  117. When I was young, I wanted to be anybody but myself.
  118. Dr Bernard Hazelhof said if I was on a desert island then I would have to get used to my own company just me and the coconuts. He said I would have to accept myself, my warts and all, and that we don't get to choose our warts. They are a part of us and we have to live with them. 
  119. We can, however, choose our friends and I am glad I have chosen you.
  120. Dr Bernard Hazelhof also said that everyone's lives are like a very long sidewalk. Some are well paved. Others, like mine, have cracks, banana skins and cigarette butts. Your sidewalk is like mine but probably not as many cracks. Hopefully, one day our sidewalks will meet and we can share a can of condensed milk.
  121. You are my best friend. You are my only friend.
  122. I have recently found the perfect job with a survey company. All I have to do is eat things and tick boxes.
  123. God gave us relatives. Thank God we can choose our friends. - Ethel Mumford
  124. Love Yourself First.

That's all for now but you can expect more updates to come! ♡
(Originally posted on 15th May 2014)


  1. This is a thorough insight of the movie. I watched it and I thought it is real deep. It definitely made me reflect back into my own life. Can't say I enjoy it very very much but it is a life changing one... worth watching.

  2. I have not watch the movie yet but from your annotation, it seems like a very life-impacting story!Will see if they actually have it here in Japan.


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