Mary and Max
Winter 2010 Features series
Sunday, March 21, 2010 at 4:00pm
Sunday, March 21, 2010 at 7:00pm
Directed by Adam Elliot
Screenplay by Adam Elliot
Starring Eric Bana, Toni Collette, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Rated PG ·
Slowly but surely, Mary and Max has been earning great praise and rewards on the festival circuit. It had its premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, then went on to win the Crystal Bear – Special Mention at the 2009 Berlin International Film Festival, and more international awards since.
Mary and Max is the first feature length claymation film from Adam Elliot, who won an Academy Award for his short film, Harvie Krumpet. Elliot also wrote Mary and Max, an exquisite, melancholy story about the unlikely friendship between a little girl and a middle-aged man living continents away, narrated with authoritative finesse by Barry Humphries.
Mary Dinkle (voiced as a young girl by Bethany Whitmore and then by Toni Collette, Little Miss Sunshine, Nothing Is Private) is an awkward little girl raised in a working-class home and fed a bunch of creative stories by way of explaining some of the less-than-pristine habits kept by her family. She doesn’t have many friends so, almost on a whim, she decides to find someone in the phone book to contact by mail.
Enter Max Horovitz (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote, Doubt), a Jewish New Yorker who lives with a mild form of autism that keeps him home and away from an active social life – his lifestyle has also kept him obese for most of his life. Over the next twenty years, against all odds, Mary and Max not only stay in touch, but form a deep bond that carries them through many trying times in both their lives.
Mere plot description does little justice to the utter originality of this film, from its quirky, offbeat tone to its sensuous, lavish visual look – it combines black-and-white and colour palettes seamlessly). Most of all, however, it’s the cleverly- wrought protagonists who draw one in with their compelling, often tragic stories and their desire to find a better life through the healing powers of friendship.