Mary And Max

Synopsis: In the mid-1970's, a homely, friendless Australian girl of 8 picks a name out of a Manhattan phone book and writes to him; she includes a chocolate bar. She's Mary Dinkle, the only child of an alcoholic mother and a distracted father. He's Max Horowitz, an overweight man with Asperger's, living alone in New York. He writes back, with chocolate. Thus begins a 20-year correspondence, interrupted by a stay in an asylum and a few misunderstandings. Mary falls in love with a neighbor, saves money to have a birthmark removed and deals with loss. Max has a friendship with a neighbor, tries to control his weight, and finally gets the dream job. Will the two ever meet face to face?
Director(s): Adam Elliot
Production: IFC Films
  4 wins & 9 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
92 min

Mary Dinkle's eyes were the colour

of muddy puddles.

Her birthmark, the colour of poo.

(Dogs bark)

It was Saturday afternoon

and she was bored.

Mary wished she had a friend

to play piggybacks with.

Mary's mood ring, which she'd found

in a cereal box, was grey

which, according to the chart,

meant she was either pensive,

unconsciously ambitious or hungry.

Her only friends were 'The Noblets'

from her favourite cartoon.

They weren't the real ones

you bought in the shops

but fake ones she had to make herself

from shells, gumnuts, pompoms

and the chicken bones salvaged

from Friday night's takeaway.

She had to make all her own toys,

and her favourites were Shrinkies

potato chip packets that

she had shrunk in the oven.

Mary's father, Noel Norman Dinkle,

worked in a factory,

attaching the strings to tea bags.

At show and tell, she told the class

he could get as many free tea bags

as he wanted.

Her favourite tea bag was Earl Grey.

She loved saying "Earl Grey"

and would like one day to marry

someone called Earl Grey.

They would live

in a castle in Scotland,

have 9 babies, 2 ducks...

..and a dog called Kevin.

Noel's hobby was to sit in his shed

and drink Baileys lrish Cream

and stuff birds he'd found

on the side of the freeway.

Mary wished he'd spend more time

with her and less with his dead friends.

She also wished she had

some brothers and sisters.

Her mother had told her

she was "an accident".

How could someone be an accident?

Grandpoppy Ralph had told her

that babies were deliberate

and found by dads

at the bottom of their beer.

Grandpoppy Ralph

had smelt like pickled onions

and had been a member of the Frankston

lce Breakers for 51 years.

Aaagh! Aaaaaghhh!

They swam in winter to feel alive.

Grandpoppy Ralph had said

it made his nipples erect.

He had died the year before, aged 74,

and his best mate, Ken,

had recited a poem in his honour.

Born in a barn

in the hills of Boronia,

Ralph lived a long life,

then died of pneumonia.

Mary missed him

and often wondered

why he had drunk ammonia.

A lot of things puzzled Mary

especially her mother,

Vera Lorraine Dinkle.

To Mary, Vera always seemed wobbly.

A pretty vicious ball.

And he's out!

Vera liked listening

to the cricket while baking

and her main ingredient

was always sherry.

She told Mary it was a type of tea

for grown-ups

that needed constant testing.

Just out of the reach

of the lead. 6/96 England.

Mary thought her mother tested

the sherry...way too much.

Mary also couldn't understand

why Vera was always "borrowing".

Yesterday, she borrowed

some fish fingers from Aisle 6.

She told Mary she put things

up her dress to save on plastic bags.

Vera was indeed a complicated soul.


Mary stopped daydreaming

and went and fetched

her pet rooster from the rain.

Her father had found the rooster

on the side of the freeway

after it had fallen off the back

of a slaughter truck.

She named him Ethel.

It was time to watch "The Noblets".

She adored "The Noblets"

because everyone was brown,

lived in a teapot

and had oodles of friends.

There was nothing nicer,

Mary thought to herself,

than the smell of a wet rooster...

..the sound of rain on the roof

and the taste of sweetened

condensed milk straight from the can

while watching your favourite cartoon.

Meanwhile, a man called Max Horowitz

also watched "The Noblets".

Max's small television

had picture but no sound.

His big television, sound but no picture.

He was 44 and liked "The Noblets"

as they lived in a delineated

and articulated social structure

with constant adherent conformity

and also because they had

oodles of friends.

Max had trouble sleeping

and had spent the night watching

television and catching fish food.

He noted to himself it was the sixth fly

he'd caught this evening.

He wondered if he should go to bed

and count sheep

or have one more chocolate hotdog.

He thought he'd try both

but it didn't work.

It had been 6 hours and 12 minutes since

Henry Vlll had passed away.

And Henry's death

had thrown Max's life into disarray.

It had become asymmetrical

and the sooner

he got a new fish, the better.

Tomorrow he would go to the pet store

and get another Henry

Henry lX.


It was shopping day

and Mary sat patiently while her mother

"borrowed" some envelopes.

To fill in time, she scanned the room

and counted how many things

were brown.

There was sticky tape, rubber bands

and a phone book with a picture

of a lady standing in a brown lake

with her hand on fire.

People had weird names in America,

Mary Daisy Dinkle thought to herself.

Funny-sounding people called

Rockefeller and Finkelstein.

She wondered what they looked like,

how old they were

and if they were married, wore glasses,

or had found babies in their beer.

Maybe in the USA

they found babies elsewhere.


They drank a lot of cola.

Maybe they found them in cans.

But, no, they wouldn't fit

through the hole.

Mary had an idea.

She would write to one of the Americans

and ask where babies came from.

She chose a Mr M Horowitz.

Aarrgh, Mrs Dinkle!

Come back here, Vera Dinkle!

You come back here!


Dear Mr M Horowitz,

my name is Mary Daisy Dinkle

and I am 8 years old,

My favourite colour is brown

and my favourite food

is sweetened condensed milk

followed closely by chocolate.

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Adam Elliot

Adam Elliot (born 2 January 1972 in Berwick, Victoria, Australia) is an independent Australian stop-motion animation writer, director and producer based in Melbourne, Australia. His five films have collectively participated in over seven hundred film festivals and have received over one hundred awards, including an Academy Award for Harvie Krumpet and five Annecy Cristals. Elliot calls himself an auteur filmmaker and each of his films have a bittersweet nature to them. He does not engage with commercial work and works exclusively on his own film projects. Based loosely on his family and friends, Elliot calls each of his works a Clayography – clay animated biography. Each film takes up to five years to complete. He is noted for his use of traditional 'in-camera' techniques, which means every prop set and character is a 'real' miniature handcrafted object. Elliot does not use digital additions or computer generated imagery to enhance his visual aesthetic. His company, Adam Elliot Clayographies, produce the films and Elliot’s work practices adhere to the French auteur methodology. Each film has been voiced by notable actors including, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Toni Collette, Geoffrey Rush, Eric Bana, William McInnes , Barry Humphries and John Flaus. Elliot is also a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and in 1999 was awarded The Young Achiever of the Year for Victoria. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    Would we be interested in discussing community involvement on a higher plane
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"Mary And Max" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 18 Jun 2024. <>.

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