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Mary and Max (2009)

Not Rated  |   |  Animation, Comedy, Drama  |  9 April 2009 (Australia)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 105,836 users  
Reviews: 159 user | 166 critic

A tale of friendship between two unlikely pen pals: Mary, a lonely, eight-year-old girl living in the suburbs of Melbourne, and Max, a forty-four-year old, severely obese man living in New York.



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Complete credited cast:
Narrator (voice)
Damien (voice)
Young Mary (voice)
Renée Geyer ...
Vera (voice)
Ian 'Molly' Meldrum ...
Homeless Man (voice)
Julie Forsyth ...
Additional Voices (voice)
John Flaus ...
Additional Voices (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Additional Voices (voice)
Shaun Patten ...
Additional Voices (voice)
Carolyn Shakespeare-Allen ...
Additional Voices (voice)
Additional Voices (voice)


In the mid-1970's, a homely, friendless Australian girl of 8 picks a name out of a Manhattan phone book and writes to him; she includes a chocolate bar. She's Mary Dinkle, the only child of an alcoholic mother and a distracted father. He's Max Horowitz, an overweight man with Asperger's, living alone in New York. He writes back, with chocolate. Thus begins a 20-year correspondence, interrupted by a stay in an asylum and a few misunderstandings. Mary falls in love with a neighbor, saves money to have a birthmark removed and deals with loss. Max has a friendship with a neighbor, tries to control his weight, and finally gets the dream job. Will the two ever meet face to face? Written by <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Two unlikely people. Two different worlds come together in a story about a most unusual friendship. See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

9 April 2009 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Mary & Max  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


AUD 8,240,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


All of the water scenes were created with lubricant. See more »


When Mary is imagining what life is like in America, she imagines a can of "Yanky Cola"; however, the can has a retained ring pull, which wasn't first used until 1977. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: Mary Dinkle's eyes were the color of muddy puddles. Her birthmark, the color of poo.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Before the end credits the next quote appears: "God gave us our relatives; thank God we can choose our friends" by Ethel Watts Mumford. See more »


References Yentl (1983) See more »


Perpetuum Mobile
Composed by Simon Jeffes
Published by Editions Penguin Café Ltd
Performed by the Penguin Cafe Orchestra (as Penguin Café Orchestra)
Licensed by Fable Music Pty Ltd on behalf of Zopf Ltd
See more »

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User Reviews

Witty, well observed and wondrous
16 February 2009 | by (Melbourne, Australia) – See all my reviews

I went into this film at the Berlinale with mixed feelings. I knew that Adam Elliot's shorts were great but frankly the last few years haven't been great for Australian films and a number of short filmmakers have made disappointing first features.

But right from the opening frame, this film shattered any of my doubts. It's so refreshing to see a film told with such a strong unique vision and pulled off so effortlessly. This is made even more remarkable not only as it's made using stop motion animation but also because of the characters and subject matter it tackles.

Mary is an 8 year old outcast living in the suburbs of Melbourne. On a whim, she chooses a name at random in a phone book and sends off a letter asking about life on the other side of the world. The letter is received by Max, an overweight depressive in his 40's living in New York, suffering from Aspergers Syndrome. A friendship is born as the pair exchange letters over the next 20 years. offering each other support, advice and the chance to see life through another set of eyes.

While the world is painted in gloomy hues of brown and grey and the characters lead bleak lives, the genius of the script is that the characters never wallow or feel sorry for themselves. The tone is kept humorous and balanced allowing us to be moved by the characters as they stumble through life but also laugh at their foibles and observations of the world they struggle to fit into. Not since Muriel's Wedding has Australia produced so fine a comedy with such rich detail and I probably got even more laughs out of this.

My only criticism of the film would be some of its music particularly its use in one key scene of the Humming Chorus (already used so memorably in the finale of Heavenly Creatures). It meant that in a critical moment I was thinking of Kate Winslet up to no good instead of connecting with Mary & Max. But this is more a personal concern and if that's the weakest thing about the film, it's doing pretty well. I hope this film is seen by the wide audience it so richly deserves.

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