Mary and Max tells the heart warming tale of a lonely 8 year old girl from Australia and a 44 year old man plagued by Aspergers and anxiety who are able to develop a friendship through writing letters. Mary Daisy Dinkle loves three things: her pet rooster, sweetened condensed milk, and the Noblets, a children’s tv show. With parents absent from her life and the kids at school bullying her for her birthmark, Mary is only able to find solace in someone thousands of miles away. Max Jerry Horowitz also loves Noblets, chooses the same lottery tickets every time and suffers from anxious overeating and not being able to understand others due to his Aspergers. While Mary’s demand for advice is often a heavy burden, Max is still grateful for his only friendship with Mary. After premiering at the Sundance festival in 2009, Mary and Max went on to receive a few small awards within its own genre. Despite its lack of international success, Mary and Max has still been able to grip the hearts of those who have viewed it. With not only holding a unique entertainment factor, but also a gripping message, it is important to analyze what makes Adam Elliot’s Mary and Max such a powerful film.
Even though the movie portrays Mary and Max in two separate worlds, their realms are melded together through the point of view, similar internal conflicts and naivety expressed through language. In this Claymation, the point of view is a bit convoluted. Both character’s stories are being told through letter; Max’s point of view takes over when Mary reads his letters and vice versa. By enveloping each character in the other’s life by allowing them to have a voice while thousands of miles away, the point of view allows for a stronger bond between the two. They are also both able to connect over their similar conflicts over self acceptance. Max has to deal with internal conflict, particularly accepting his mental illness. Mary also goes through a similar struggle, needing to overcome her innocence, accept her situation and accept herself. She first struggles with understanding why her mom constantly drinks cooking sherry, but then has to understand the same problem once she grows up as she slips into the same alcoholism when her husband leaves her. Both characters are perpetually stuck in a childlike innocence which provides for complications in understanding the humanity. The language used by both allow for this. Mary once exclaims: “ I wish he was my boyfriend, then we can be in love and do sexing!” indicating that she has minimal knowledge when it comes to adult topics such as sex. Max is also in the same boat, responding to Mary’s request to know how babies are born by saying: “Unfortunately, in America, babies are not found in cola cans. I asked my mother when I was four, and she said they came from eggs laid by rabbis. If you aren't Jewish, they're laid by Catholic nuns. If you're an atheist, they're laid by dirty, lonely prostitutes.”