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 ?
|nudity||5/10 The phenomena of sex and getting pregnant is explain with cartoons in non graphic way. There is some very brief cartoon nudity when Max is shown naked on a desert island. His genitals are seen entirely, but from a distance. There is a reference to someone's "wife's new breasts" Mary asks questions about sex and "Where do babies come from?" in her first letter's written to Max. She misspells "vagina" and spells it "vergina" and talks about how she knows "sexing" and asking if babies come from bottles or nuns or eggs Max gives a few explanations about where babies come from and one involves prostitutes laying eggs. Max also mentions having worked in a condom factory. There is implied sex between Mary and Damien after they are married. Mary's husband leaves her for a man in New Zealand, admitting his homosexuality to her through a letter. There are some pictures displaying women's breasts in some areas of the film but not graphic as it is not very noticeable|
|violence||4/10 Mary contemplates suicide at one point in the film and is shown with a noose around her neck and a handful of pills. A mime artist is crushed by a large AC machine, cracks are seen in the side walk and a pool of blood is seen around his head, but it is hard to identify as Max's scenes are black and white. Len, Mary's neighbour had his legs bitten off by piranha in WW2. A piranha is seen with a severed leg in its mouth and blood is spraying out of the wound, not very graphic but done in a comedic way.|
|profanity||3/10 Some mild cursing in the narrative, but nothing that most kids don't already know, and most parents are likely to find tolerable. Inside the train Max usually rides with there are two '"f" words written on the walls but it's hard to notice.|
|alcohol||3/10 Mary's mother is shown drinking and smoking in most of her scenes. Mary drinks, as an adult, later in the film. Mary finds a bottle of her mother's Valium and takes a handful.|
|frightening||6/10 Scenes involving the death of some of Max's pets may be too brutal for very young children (seeing his pet goldfish floating in its bowl, then scooped-up and flushed down the toilet) to understand the dark comedy inherent in them. Scenes with Max talking about his illness (Asperger's), being in a mental health unit / psychiactric unit may also be too dark for some children to grasp the fundamentals of. Max is a pitiful human being, but he has issues that he discusses and pokes fun at, in order to cope with his life and lack of friends. Sometimes this includes scenes of him talking about death, talking to non-existant friends, and dreaming of alternate realities in which he is loved and accepted like other, "normal" people. The tone can be quite dark and brooding at times, even when a scene involves a lot of comedy. The scene with Mary attempting suicide while pregnant might be disturbing and intense for some younger audience. Max dies in the end just when Mary is about to visit her. This ending is extremely sad and emotional. A bit too tragic for a younger audience. Despite this, the ending is beautiful. Suggested MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for Mature thematic material, sexual references, violence, and crude humor.|