ByRosalyn Lim 林惠美, writer at Creators.co
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Rosalyn Lim 林惠美

At a glance

This is the first entry for my animated film marathon. I decided to write about this film instead of the mainstream ones first because it is critically underrated. How could this film not to be one of the top 100 highest-grossing animated film? It is not even on highest-grossing stop motion films. Sigh. Box office is just a number but it also means not many people have seen this so I would like to introduce something different to you-who-is-reading-this!

Mary and Max Trailer

Mary and Max Synopsis

Mary and Max (2009) is a claymated feature film from the creators of the Academy Award winning short animation Harvie Krumpet (2003). It is a simple tale of pen-friendship between two very different people; Mary Dinkle, a chubby lonely eight years old girl living in the suburbs of Melbourne, and Max Horovitz, a 44 years old, severely obese, Jewish man with Asperger's Syndrome living in the chaos of New York.


Spanning twenty years and two continents, Mary and Max's friendship survives much more than the average diet of life's ups and downs. Like Harvie Krumpet, Mary and Max is innocent but not naive, as it takes us on a journey that explores friendship, autism, taxidermy, psychiatry, alcoholism, where babies come from, obesity, kleptomania, sexual differences, trust, anxiety, anger, copulating dogs, religious difference, agoraphobia, mental disorders, depression and much much more.


Mary and Max Review

Mary's alcoholic mother, Vera Dinkle.
Mary's alcoholic mother, Vera Dinkle.

Mary and Max (2009) undoubtedly is a display of clay animation filmmaking prowess. It has spectacular cinematography, fantastic clay sculptures, lovely characters, wonderful voice acting and a genuine story that is just so good.

Max at the streets.
Max at the streets.

To be honest, I do not know how to properly describe this animation film. The story, the art, the cultural significance. It is realistic yet unusual, which will appeal to the mass but it is also quite depressing as it is never shy to portray painful social issues such as but does not limit to abandonment, loneliness, bullies, suicides and accidental deaths.

Mary stamping the letter she's going to send to Max.
Mary stamping the letter she's going to send to Max.

Nevertheless, Mary and Max is not a confusing animated film really, it is in fact quite enjoyable to watch and funny at times but it could leave us emotionally confused afterwards if you decide to reflect on it like me. The obscurity of love, life and death, all can be felt in this film!

Your drawing is an interesting visual portrayal of yourself.
Your drawing is an interesting visual portrayal of yourself.

Mary and Max (2009) is definitely one of my favorite animated film. I only wish they would let us know the exchanges between Mary and Max while she's pregnant before the end. You should watch this if you haven't!

Who will like this?

I think aspiring psychologists will be inspired by Mary and atheists might fall in love with Max. Other than clayanimation and stop motion animated film enthusiasts, people who would like to watch something different than the usual animation that touches on reality, friendship and family will also be impressed with Mary and Max (2009). This film is great for Autism-awareness events as well as movie nights that aims to promote concern for psychological issues and humanity too.

PS. I can't brain anyone who love movies especially animated films not to like this though, as the clay animation technique seems nothing less than awesome. Unless you would somehow be utterly offended by the fact that Max is a Jew turned Atheist and he said something like God doesn't exist or your sense of humor just cannot accept the scripted story of where do baby come from, then you should avoid watching this film at all cost! :o

Details of the movie

Director: Adam Elliot
Producer: Melanie Coombs
Story: Adam Elliot
Screenplay: Adam Elliot
Cinematography: Gerald Thompson
Music: Dale Cornelius
Studio: Melodrama Pictures
Starring: Toni Collette, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Humphries
Full Credit: [IMDb]
Distributor: Icon Entertainment International
Country: Australia
Language: English
Genre: Black Comedy Drama
Running time: 92 mins
Budget: AUD 8,240,000 est.
Box office: USD 1,725,381 est.

Official website

http://www.maryandmax.com/

Original post from Rosalyn's Blog.
This article is a part of Rosalyn's Animated Movie Marathon.
Rosalyn can be contacted via email and facebook.

Behind the Scenes

These are some of their Production Fakts. For more, visit their official website.

  • It took them almost five years from script to screen to make.
  • There are approximately 132,480 individual frames in the film, which was shot on six high-resolution Canon digital stills cameras.
  • 133 separate sets were constructed for the film. The film is set in the suburbs of Australia and the metropolis of New York, with two very different colour palettes, (brown for Australia, grey for America).
  • The diversity and complexity of the sets was extreme; everything from a desert island to a chocolate heaven needed to be made.
  • The New York skyline set was the biggest and most time consuming and took the entire art department crew of twenty people, two months to complete.
  • 475 miniature props were made, everything from a miniature hand blown wine glass to a fully functioning Underwood typewriter which took one of their prop makers 9 weeks to design and build.
  • 147 tailor made costumes were designed and created by their two costume designers.
  • Mary's wedding dress was based on Lady Diana's, and Ivy's jumpsuit was modelled on the photographer Annie Liebowitz's mother's jumpsuit.
  • 808 miniature Earl Grey tea bag boxes were hand cut, folded, glued, wrapped and airbrushed. At one point all staff helped create these tea bag boxes, with everyone from the producer, to the runner having a hand in these.
  • 120 Noblets were made and their creators were given a great deal of freedom with their designs, some of which are quite risqué! (sexually suggestive)
  • 73 kiloes of plasticine were used to make the mouths, hands and original sculpts of the puppets. Each batch of plasticine had to be perfectly colour matched and mixed for exact texture, consistency and melting point.
  • 12 litres of water based sex lube (or 2,400 teaspoons) were needed to create everything from a tear to a surging jungle river. Their runner was always reluctant whenever he had to go to the chemist for another dozen tubes.
  • To feed their crew, their chef used over 260 kilos of tomatoes, 280 kilos of coffee beans, and 2600 litres of milk. Over 7800 muffins were consumed, 5236 by the director.

Mary and Max Poster

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