92 Min. | Animation – Comedy – Drama | April 2009
IMDB Rating: 8.2
Director: Adam Elliot
Starring: Toni Collette, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Eric Bana
Mary and Max Review
“Mary and Max” is a difficult movie to review. A good place to begin is by pointing out that Adam Elliot painstakingly created a broken world here. The inhabitants of this world are, with few exceptions, wounded or maimed. It is a world not governed by a loving God, but by chance. By chance, Max Jerry Horovitz has asperger’s syndrome. By chance, Mary Daisy Dinkle was born with a birth mark that looks like a poo stain, has an alcoholic mother, and stumbles upon a stray rooster. By chance, the two become pen pals.
Mary and Max’s lives and relationship with one another are at the heart of movie. Both have miserable/nonexistent family structures. Both are so alienated from society that two of their main sources of pleasure come from eating and watching a television show called “The Noblets.” About halfway through the movie, I came to the realization that “Mary and Max” is really a portrait of contemporary, industrialized societies. War, poverty, alcoholism, bullying, obesity, mind-numbing careers, distrust, distorted body images, suicide, mental illness, loneliness, half-hearted self-help books – heck, even siphoning off charitable donations is covered in a quick 92 minutes.
One of Elliot’s most impressive accomplishments in Mary and Max is the pace, we feel the sluggishness and lethargy of the two main characters. Yet, Elliot also treats us to many disarmingly hilarious scenes. One minute you’ll be cringing, the next you’ll be genuinely moved, and in a blink, you’ll be grinning ear to ear. Sounds like a microcosm of life itself. The quotation that closes “Mary and Max” invokes God in a surprising way. “Mary and Max” is a work of high art and one of the finest movies have seen in a long time. It will stay with you. A must see.
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