Writer/Director: Adam Elliot
Running time: 92 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12
Australia Release date: 9th April 2009
Watched on Sky+ Sunday 11th December 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I knew very little about this film before seeing it; I knew it was animated and that it was an Australian film. Someone had mentioned it online, stating it was pretty good and so I added it to ‘The List’ and waited for it to appear. It finally did and I duly recorded it expecting some strange Aussie humour. To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to see when I hit the play button. Imagine my surprise when I found a wonderful, funny and deeply touching story, beautifully animated with such great characters. I would even go so far as to say I loved it! (And I don’t say that often!). Rather than give a summary, I’ll give you a very brief outline of what the film is about.
Mary is a lonely eight year old girl who lives in the suburbs of Melbourne (Australia). One day she randomly picks a name from an American phone book she finds in the local post office. She writes to one Max Horovitz, a forty four year old man who lives in New York (USA… that’s just for balance). The unlikely pair strike up a friendship and write to each other on and off over the next twenty years. I really don’t want to say too much more, but the film covers issues like loneliness, mental health, love and hate, it’s all quite grown up, so not really one for the kids. I think I stopped just before the Spoiler Police wrapped me up and sent me to their pen pal… in Alaska.
The two main characters are fully rounded and you get a great sense of what they are feeling due to an excellent script and also to the voice talents of the actors playing their parts. So I must give praise to the voice talents of both Toni Collette as Mary Daisy Dinkle and Philip Seymour Hoffman as Max Jerry Horovitz. Also, the narrator, voiced by Barry Humphries had a great part to play, so a big chunk of praise going his way too.
Made in the ‘claymation’ style favoured by the Ardman studio here in the UK (responsible for the likes of ‘Wallace and Gromit’ amongst others), I thought it was really well done. Lots of little visual gags in amongst the rather serious story that unfolds. It’s witty, intelligent, charming, but there are also some serious messages in there. I found it quite touching at the end, but I can’t really talk about the ending here. Over all… HIGHLY Recommended.
My score: 9.2/10.
IMDb Score: 8.2/10 (based on 31,658 votes at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 94/100 (based on 54 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 90/100 (based on 17,282 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Young Mary: [about Len Hislop] He's scared of outside, which is a disease called homophobia.
Narrator: Max knew nothing about love. It was as foreign to him as scuba diving.
Max Jerry Horovitz: [to Mary] You are my best friend. You are my only friend.
Official Site: http://www.maryandmax.com/