Newest Reviews
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
When the Screaming Starts
Sweetie, You Won't Believe It
Lions Love
Night Drive
Toll, The
Last Bus, The
Purple Sea
Pebble and the Boy, The
Mosquito State
Newest Articles
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
  Mary and Max Course Of Correspondence
Year: 2009
Director: Adam Elliot
Stars: Toni Collette, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Humphries, Eric Bana, Bethany Whitmore, Renée Geyer
Genre: Comedy, Drama, AnimatedBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: In Australia during the mid-nineteen-seventies, there was a little girl called Mary (voiced by Bethany Whitmore) who did not have any friends. She liked to watch her favourite cartoon, The Noblets, while drinking condensed milk, but everything else in her life failed to offer much pleasure, although she did have a pet rooster. Her father worked in a factory putting the string on teabags, and her mother was a little too fond of the cooking sherry, with a shoplifting habit to boot. But one day when Mary was at the library, she happened upon a New York City phonebook...

Mary and Max was animator Adam Elliot's follow up to his award-winning short Harvie Krumpet, which had been well received around the world, but how would a feature length version along the same lines be regarded? The answer to that was very well, as if you had appreciated the shorter work then while this was more of the same it was still crafted with the skill, warmth and humour that Elliot had displayed before. Of course, what an audience can tolerate over the period of twenty minutes might not have been too welcome a shade under ninety, but if you had a liking for the quirky, then you would have been well serviced by this.

Based on Eliliot's real life pen pal, it was essentially, as far as plot went, 84 Charing Cross Road for the twenty-first century, only the two correspondents were a little girl and an forty-four-year-old Jewish-American man, the Max of the title (a gravel-voiced Philip Seymour Hoffman). It is he who Mary sees in that phone book, and having torn the address out of it she proceeds to write away to him, asking him all sorts of questions as well as telling him all about herself. Max is understandably taken aback to receive this, complete with chocolate bar, but he is immediately won over because he is as lonely as Mary is and writes back with a potted life story, illustrating how he is confused by life, overweight, and living alone in a small apartment.

Elliot likes to fill in the details of his characters so spends quite some time with small items of information designed to allow us to understand them better, which on the surface have the appearance of random non sequiturs but are actually part of a tapestry of their existences. So even Mary's grandfather, who is dead before the story begins, is allowed a flashback to show us what kind of man he was but also that he told Mary babies were found in glasses of beer, which she accepts without question. Of course, now she has someone to ask about the world, in one of her letters to Max she probes his mind for answers, which he doesn't take too well.

The message is one of friendship, and how a bond can be forged between unlikely people, so Mary and Max keep up their correspondence over the years as she grows up (now voiced by Toni Collette) and falls in love with the boy across the street (Eric Bana) as she plans to solve Max's mental problems by going to university and studying psychology, a move that he is less than accepting of. Although they've never met, they go through the same trials and tribulations that any long-lasting friendship does, so there are times when they are very close but also times when they fall out, and Elliot brought a lot of genuine emotion to what could have been objects of pure ridicule. If there's a drawback, it's that he comes across as viewing these people as if from a great height, so a measure of condescension enters into it, and while there are a few laughs, the depressive tone stemming from a preoccupation with mental dysfunction doesn't exactly have you rolling on the floor. But it is sweet enough to appeal to those who like their animation out of the mainstream. Music by Dale Cornelius.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 2658 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf


Last Updated: