Mary and Max form an endearing pen-pal friendship which is an endearing one at best and a frightful one at worst. Mary’s innocent attempt to reach out to a pen pal provides her with the comfort needed to cope with the bullying she undergoes through at school, but at the same time, it indirectly snowballs into one of the reasons that incited her suicidal-attempt. But ulti-mately, their friendship allowed Mary and Max to live a more animated life. Writing to Max be-came a mode of escape for Mary and it allowed her to obtain a “normal” lifestyle. They both gave each other access to new beginnings even though they pushed each other to the limits of their insanity.
Both Mary and Max have social handicaps that allow them to bond and the trade-off re-sults in a mutually beneficial relationship that help them achieve their dreams. Max eventually wins the lottery, and Mary marries her childhood crush. However, these life long aspirations quickly fade away as Max’s friend squanders her money and dies shortly after and Mary be-comes disheartened when Max rejects her research book. The event sends her off to adapt the same alcoholic tendencies of her mother and as she takes an overdose of Valium, images of her past torment her. She manages to appropriate the tragic moment however, for she stands up to them in the middle of the scene and manages to orchestrate the pictures like a conductor. Similar-ly, Max clarifies that has come to terms with his disease and even likes himself for it.
Even though it deals with a grey-scale emotional palette, the film creates many heart-warming moments. Claymation makes for an effective buffer for the film, which like Mary, broaches serious and uncomfortable subjects. The medium allows for the audience to read the film as a childhood story.