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August 30, 2010

Mary and Max (2009)

The film takes place from 1976 to 1998 and tells the story of the unlikely pen-pal friendship that lasts for 22 years between Mary, a chubby lonely 8-year-old girl who lives in Mount Waverley, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, and Max, a 44-year-old, severely obese, secular Jew atheist with Asperger syndrome who lives in New York City.

The central focus of the movie is the letters shared between Mary and Max (from the ages of 8 to 26 and 44 to 62, respectively) and the stories behind their life and the lives of people around them.

The film states in the opening credits that it is based on a true story. In an interview given in April 2009, writer-director Elliot clarified that the character of Max was inspired by "a pen-friend in New York who I've been writing to for over twenty years." 

Although the majority of the plot development occurs in the late 1970's, there are several anachronistic popular cultural references which derive from the 1980's: for example; a snail named after Stephen Hawking, Max's recognition of his Asperger syndrome, and the "Noblets" which are apparently based on the Smurfs. (wikipedia)

Inspiration Note

It's a beautiful movie about friendship. It's nice to see pure friendship from two people with big age difference. Without friends, life seems dull and empty (the truth). They both lonely in some way, this similarities made them to need someone to talk to and share with their lives.

A lot can get in the way with pen pals. Different culture can sometimes get in the way. Certain events or conflicts in countries too. I've never heard my pen pal until now, after I wrote to her in my junior high school until my senior high school. Although it would be nice to hear from her. So when Max stopped writing for Mary, I could relate to Mary's disappointment and worries. She can't call, and can't meet him since they both live far apart. It's painful to to see Max try to forget Mary although he needs her. In situation like this, sometimes big fear is just big walls that holds you from your happiness.

The biggest message was, if you experience the lowest point of your life, you could lean on your best friend.

This movie could make you appreciate your best friend. After watching this you probably want to call your long lost-contact pals. This is not a movie for kids, sometimes the frustration is quite depressing to see.

Of course I always love unique animation, especially the quite deep details in this movie. Mary and Max is a clay animation movie, that took five years from script to screen to make. The black and whites was inspired by New York photographer, Diane Arbus' black and white portrait.

For other amusing facts, visit their official website :

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