Film Reviews: Mary and Max (2009)

Figure 1. Mary and Max Poster 

Mary and Max (2009) is an Australian stop motion, Directed by Adam Elliot, was his first animated feature film. The film is an animated comedy- drama piece with many themes through out. The film is also based on a true story.

The film is first set in 1976, with eight year old Mary Daisy Dinkle who lives in Australia and has a lonely life. Mary has a distant father and an alcoholic mother who give her little support. The only comforts she has in life are her pet rooster, condensed milk and her favourite t.v. show,  The Noblets.
One day she decides to pick a random address and write to it. The randomly picked address she chooses is Max Jerry Horowitz's, who lives in New York, and writes to see if they can be pen pals.

Max is 44 years old, who as issues with forming close bonds with other people due to various mental health and social problems. Even though he get anxiety over Mary's letters, he decides that he will be her pen pal and replys.

Through the duration of the film we watch their relationship between them, and their own lives go through ups an downs. We saw that mary and maker were real friends even though the lived on oppostite sides of the world.

We also see a lot issues being adressed in the film such as;

  • Health issues 
  • Mental health issues 
  • life style 
  • addition
Which in someways the audience were able to connect with throughout the film. And when looking at the style of animation, in some ways you can say it was very sterotyped. When seeing the first few shots of grey scale New York city, it appears very dull and depressing, while Australia is these different shades of brown. While grey is meant to represent color of detachment, indecision and compromise yet brown is meant to be the color of security, protection and material wealth. But in Mary's world its the oppersite. Is this becasue its mary's preseption of the world?  And is New York Max's preseption of how the world is and looks?

The sence of humor this austrailian film shows is kind of dry and dark but still lauging at life. In ways I think we could all realate to the film as we saw ourselves as max or mary. Which made it funny in a way,  but also still realistic.

Australia's animation films isn't as big as the main film industry out there. But there are a few animation films that have been produced. They have mainly been 2D animation on a few fairy tales and a few individual stories. The most well know animation franchise would be Happy Feet (2006), which is a 3D animation films about the story of a tap dancing penguin. The only other Australian stop motion film was a film called $9.99 (2008) directed by Tatia Rosenthal.


Mary and Max. (2009) Directed by Adam Elliot [Stop Animation Film] Australia: Melodrama Pictures.

Happy Feet. (2006) Directed by George Miller [Animation Film] Australia: Animal Logic

Illustration List:

Figure 1. Mary and Max (2009) [poster] at:


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