Mary & Max

Writer/Director: Adam Elliot
Producer: Melanie Coombs

[in Australian cinemas April 9 through Icon]

With his self-effacing homage to “difference” and evolution of a medium, Adam Elliot has created something wonderful with his first feature-length claymation.

Mary & Max unfolds through the cross-Pacific correspondence between two unlikely pen pals. Though both outsiders for different reasons, 8-y-o Mary Daisy Dinkle and 300 lb New Yorker Max Horowitz share loneliness and a love of chocolate.

The tone and structure are reminiscent of Leunig’s book The Curly Pyjama Letters, and the characters are defined by a Benjamin Button innocence and Forrest Gump goodness. But most of all, Mary & Max references Elliot’s body of work so far: his early shorts Uncle, Cousin and Brother, and his Oscar winning short with producer Melanie Coombs, Harvie Krumpet. His animation, like life, has fingerprints on it – and that’s what makes it real.

Despite themes ranging from cerebral palsy to Asperger’s Syndrome, depression and suicide, Elliot finds the light side of life as characterised by a distinct sense of compassion and good humour. Filled with the quirky minutiae of life, his work stands as an affirmation of humanity on the grandest scale.

The film opened this year’s Sundance Film Festival and, in its first Sydney screening at AFTRS Friday night, the theatre was full house and overflowing with praise.

Forget ‘1000 Films to See Before You Die’ – Mary & Max should be in your Top 10.


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