Screened as part of NZIFF 2009

Mary and Max 2008

Directed by Adam Elliot

Crammed with absurd and wonderful detail, this claymation feature from Oscar winner Adam Elliot (Harvie Krumpet) is a mordantly funny tale of pen-friendship between a lonely Australian girl and a paranoid Manhattanite.

92 minutes 35mm

Director, Screenplay, Designer


Melanie Coombs


Gerald Thompson


Bill Murphy

Art director

Craig Fison

Costume designers

Felicity Hardy
Marion Marks


Andrew McGrath


Toni Collette (Mary Daisy Dinkle)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Max Jerry Horovitz)
Barry Humphries (Narrator)
Eric Bana (Damien)
Bethany Whitmore (young Mary)


Sundance, Berlin, Edinburgh 2009


Adam Elliot’s mordantly funny account of a decades-long correspondence between two hopelessly marooned loners is crammed with absurd and wonderful details. And his fellow-feeling for the line-up of comically tragic misfits who populate his world is so clearly authentic that you may want to claim some of it for yourself. In 70s suburban Australia eight-year-old Mary Daisy Dinkle needs to know where babies come from, but she isn’t getting much change out of her blowsy, alcoholic mother. Picking a name at random from a Manhattan phonebook, she addresses her question to one Max Horovitz. A reclusive, paranoid 44-year-old Jew (hilariously voiced by Philip Seymour Hoffman), his immediate response is severe trauma. But he gets his act together, writes back – at vast length – and the strangest, most erratic of mutually supportive pen-friendships is under way. As in Elliot’s Oscar-winning Harvie Krumpet, every precious moment is wrought from clay. — BG