Mary and Max: An 8-Year-Old Girl and an Obese, Asperger's Adult are an Unlikely Pair of Pen Pals in this Claymation Film

Two characters, with seemingly nothing in common, become fervent pen pals in this silly, slightly dark, clever claymation film, written and directed by Adam Elliot.


Mary (voice of Toni Collette) is an 8-year-old Australian little girl, with a mother constantly sloshed from too much sherry and a father who likes to do weird things to dead birds in his shed. She loves sweetened, condensed milk straight from the can.

Max (voice of Philip Seymour Hoffman) is a 44-year-old obese New Yorker with Asperger's syndrome. He's had eight pet goldfish, all named Henry. He likes to eat whole chocolate bars sandwiched between hotdog buns. He goes to over-eaters anonymous meetings. He must watch television using two stacked sets: the first has sound but no picture, the other has no sound but a working screen.

In much the same way that Ted is a movie about a teddy bear skewed for a necessary adult audience, Mary and Max is a clay animation that grown-ups will appreciate most—especially Wallace and Gromit fans.

Fun fact: It took 2400 teaspoons of lubricant to create the ocean when Max imagines himself on a desert island.

[Netflix, Amazon]



I saw this when it played at the Berlin Film Festival under the young adult film division where the film I worked on had its world premiere (My Suicide/Archie's Final Project) and it absolutely DESTROYED me with that ending... and I really do not cry at movies at all. I was so blindsided by it that I wore my sunglasses outside in the gloomy Berlin winter day and did not speak to any of my friends for about an hour after the screening.

(consequently our film ended up WINNING in our category that year, the Crystal Bear, and after hanging out with the jury made up of youth after the awards were handed out I found out the voting came down to 4 votes for us and 3 votes for Mary and Max. I still feel like we got to cash in on a lot of karma pulling that win out)