Logo © One Movie, Five Views - Header design by Erin V.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

DVD Review: Mary and Max

Mary and Max - A Mongrel Media Release


Release Date: November 20th, 2009

DVD Release Date: January 26th, 2010

Rated G

Running time: 96 minutes

Adam Elliot (dir.)

Adam Elliot (writer)

Dale Cornelius (music)

Toni Collette as Mary Daisy Dinkle (voice)

Philip Seymour Hoffman as Max Jerry Horovitz (voice)

Eric Bana as Damien (voice)

Barry Humphries as Narrator (voice)

Our reviews below:


Mary and Max DVD Review John C.

***1/2 (out of 4)

Mary and Max is the story of an unlikely friendship. An 8-year old girl in Australia, Mary Daisy Dinkle, rips a page from the phone book, and sends a letter to Max Jerry Horowitz. A 44-year old man living with Asperger's syndrome in New York City.

The friendship that ensues is tender and touching. As they unexpectedly change each other’s lives, we come to realise that having one long distance friend can be more meaningful to some than being surrounded by face to face social. The last scene of the film could only be described as bittersweet, heartbreaking and beautiful.

It’s a story that could only exist in the pre-internet age. A time when you would take time and care to write a letter, praying that the recipient would respond. You would actually spend time thinking about what to say, and could include a chocolate bar in the package as well.

Though I could have done without some of the darker, almost sadistic humour, Mary and Max is an excellent piece of adult animation. Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s voice work as Max is spot on, and the writing gives an accurate insight into the mind of a certain type of Aspie.

It should be noted that, despite the G-rating, this film could have gotten away with a 14A. The DVD includes no bonus features, though it could have included some of Adam Elliot’s short films.


Mary and Max DVD Review By Erin V.

*** (out of four)

Mary and Max is about the penpal relationship between a girl in Australia by the name of Mary (who writes one day to someone random in the US), and Max, a middle-age man with Aspergers’ syndrome.

The film is interesting, and Max’s thought process is very accurate to how an individual on the autism spectrum might think. (This being said though, people on the autism spectrum are all individuals, and just because some may think in that manner, many others do not.) Overall, I found their writing relationship to be done well, and never had a ‘weird vibe’ despite the fact that they were so different in age. They developed a very nice and believable friendship that they both really needed.

As for the film itself, there were parts of it that I liked more than others. I did find the film to be rated quite low, (according to the package a G), and could have done with as high as a 14A, for various content reasons. This is definitely not a film for children. Some of the content, I found went a bit overboard, and I might have liked the film a bit better without as much of it, but the storyline on a whole was well executed.

The animation style, while interesting, is not visually pleasing to look at, unlike something like Coraline. Still, don’t get me wrong, I did like the film. I found it to be a good effort, and worth seeing for those interested in either autism, or animation.


Mary and Max DVD Review By Nicole

***1/2 (out of 4)

Mary and Max is a charming and touching story about an unusual friendship. Mary Daisy Dinkle is a lonely Australian girl who lives with her eccentric father and alcoholic mother. Max Jerry Horowitz is a middle age man with Asperger’s syndrome, whose only friends are either imaginary, furry, feathered or finned.

One day while at the library, Mary comes across an American phone book. She only gets to “H” before she is suddenly forced to leave. She writes down the first name she sees, and proceeds to write her new “friend”. Max responds by writing a very long letter about himself. Over time, the correspondence between the two impacts each other in unexpected ways. The pen pal friendship spans 20 years. During the correspondence, both Mary and Max learn acceptance, forgiveness, and what it means to be human.

Mary and Max is a very unique animated film. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is perfectly cast as Max. The animation style is very original, in that despite being claymation does not have the look of Aardman. Instead, the characters are mostly shot in grey, with only a few reds for contrast.

Max’s portrayal of Asperger’s syndrome and panic disorder is fairly accurate, considering Max’s age, and the fact that this movie takes place in the 1970’s and ‘80’s. It should be noted that while Max is more challenged socially, many Aspies today can lead more fulfilling lives, thanks to community improvement. What I really liked about Mary and Max is the acceptance of people’s differences, as opposed to pushing for a “cure”.

Although the fact that this film is about a child, this movie is for teenagers and adults only. This film, despite it’s ludicrous G rating, should be rated 14A due to its stark depictions of alcoholism and historically correct portrayals of how people with developmental delays were treated.

Mary and Max is funny, sad at times, and very sweet. Their friendship never feels creepy, but innocent and real. This film deals with death, life, family problems and the beacon of hope that a simple friendship can bring.


Mary and Max DVD Review By Maureen

***1/2 (out of 4)

Mary and Max is a quirky, claymation gem of a tale about an unlikely friendship between two very different people. Mary (voiced by Toni Collette) is 8 years old and lives in Australia. Max (voiced by Phillip Seymour Hoffman) is 44, lives in new York City and has Asperger’s syndrome. Mary instigates a pen pal correspondence that lasts 20 years and provides unique insight and friendship for both of them.

On the surface, Mary and Max is a dark depressing story. Visually this is a somewhat ugly film. The animation is done in shades of grey and brown with splashes of red for contrast. Yet despite the dark look and tone, Mary and Max has a tender and charming overall feel to the story. Writer/director Adam Elliot has given viewers a touching and accurate glimpse into the challenges and struggles of Asperger’s syndrome and a wonderful lesson in friendship. Even when friendships are unorthodox, friends make a difference.

For animation fans, or individuals interested in the topic of Asperger’s syndrome, Mary and Max is a must-see.


Mary and Max DVD Review By Tony

***1/2 (out of 4)

Mary & Max is the first feature from Australian self-titled “Clayographer” Adam Elliot, who won an Oscar for the 2003 short Harvie Krumpet. The story spans 22 years in the lives of Mary in suburban Australia and Max in urban New York, from the ages of 8 & 44 respectively. Having picked his name at random from a directory, Mary starts up a correspondence with Max. Despite their differences, they discover the common bond of Asperger Syndrome which has shaped both their lives.

Among the recent crop of films about ‘Aspies”, Mary & Max treats its subjects with sensitivity, celebrating their joys as well as dealing with their challenges though its crude humour and grotesque characters are not for small children.


Consensus: A very good piece of adult animation, with a tender storyline and interesting visuals. Mary and Max gives an interesting and accurate look at Asperger’s syndrome and friendship. ***1/2 (Out of 4)

No comments: