Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mary and Max

I saw Mary and Max by Adam Elliot yesterday. And I HAVE to talk about it. Because I can’t get it out of my head. It was one of the most sublime, deep, endearing black comedy movies I’ve ever seen. It’s a true story about how a lonely little eight year girl from Australia, Mary Daisy Dinkle becomes pen pals with a 44 year old obese, Asperger’s syndrome ridden man in New York, Max Jerry Horowitz. (Don’t you just LOVE the names? They’re so much fun to say)

The special thing about the movie is that it shows two highly unlikely people becoming best friends, extending their love and affection over two different continents; and how they’re so utterly lonely in their respective real lives. Mary asks him the most innocent of questions, ("Do sheeps shrink when it rains?" "Do goose get goose bumps?) which he patiently answers and shares his own fascinating life experiences with her. They find solace and consolation in writing letters to each other and exchanging exotic chocolates.Because of his disorder, he'd never been comfortable at understanding people and "love was as alien to him as scuba diving." Ergo, when the friendless Mary asks him questions about love and relationships, they send him into severe anxiety attacks and lands him into a mental institution. However, their unusual friendship grows stronger over a span of twenty years and even though towards the end things become a little turbulent, they do manage to salvage their friendship.

Although it’s a clay animated movie, (where the makers of this movie actually created clay puppets for all the characters), it basically focuses on the darkest of aspects about life in a humorous way. It shows how relationships are formed, how they break, how morbid and despondent lives can get and the kind of problems people face while they’re struggling to survive in this mad world. It talks about death and depression and sex and mental disorders, but all in the most innocent manner possible. And all this they’ve done through animation, art, photography, crafts and design. It is sheer brilliance to listen to the letters exchanged between them.

The movie starts with the words spoken by the narrator, “Mary Dinkle's eyes were the colour of muddy puddles; her birthmark, the colour of poo.” If I could, I would have quoted the entire dialogues between them over here, but I’ll restrict myself to my most favourite quotes from the movie: 
Max: Do you have a favourite-sounding word? My top-five are "ointment," "bumblebee," "Vladivostok," "banana," and "testicle."

(Psst, my favourite-sounding words are’ whimsical’, ‘postulate’,’ impeccable’, ‘protagonist’, ‘ginger’, ‘vegetables’, 'befuddled', ‘pickles’.. and actually many many many more!)

Max: “When I was young, I invented an invisible friend called Mr Ravioli. My psychiatrist says I don't need him anymore, so he just sits in the corner and reads.”

Max: It would be good if there was a Fat Fairy. She would be a bit like the Tooth Fairy but would suck out your fat.”

Mary: “Where do babies come from in America? Do they come from cola cans? In Australia they are found in beer glasses.”

Mary: "Here's a photo of my other neighbour, Damian. I wish he was my boyfriend and we can be in love and do sexing"
Max: “Dr. Bernard Hazelhof said if I was on a desert island, then I would have to get used to my own company - just me and the coconuts. He said I would have to accept myself, my warts and all, and that we don't get to choose our warts. They are part of us and we have to live with them. We can, however, choose our friends, and I am glad I have chosen you.

They’re so deep yet naive yet thoughtful, right?  How can you not like such stuff? The last scene of the movie was so painful and touching and beautiful. It culminated with the most perfect words He smelt like liquorice and old books, she thought to herself, as tears rolled from her eyes the colour of muddy puddles.”

Such movies really impact you and compel you to think. About a hundred things. And I can’t mention all of them here. This movie is going to stay with me for a long time.

P.S. Once again, thanks to my spurtal buddy for sharing this with me. You deserve a colon phi :)


  1. Beautifully written summary. Not watched it, but on reading this, have put it on my 'to download n watch' list. Sounds interesting n different.


  2. I'm going to ask certain friends who earn to BUY this for me :D
    and I'm also going to write a post on favorite words too...and also tag you on fb somewhere :)
    I've fantasized about a letters only friend for the longest time. Nobody appreciates them(or asks for them) anymore

  3. Smriti, haha I thought of you when I wrote ginger. I love the shape your mouth takes when you say it! 'ginger'! 'ginger'! Right? :P

    Manu, thank you! :) and oh good! Do watch it.. it's one of the best movies I've seen recently!

    En, if no one buys it for you, just download it and WATCH it. I KNOW you'd love it. Even I LOVE exchanging letters. I used to till like a couple of years back. I used to put stickers and all :P but now no one wants to go through all that pain of actually posting them. hmpf.

    And you know what, even I want to buy Hitchhiker's guide.. which I'll just go and buy myself! :)

  4. Yeah,really one of the best movies.... Everybody should watch....


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