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Nadur basilica, Gozo

 Sometimes perfect strangers make the best friends...

A 2009 Australian clay-animated film written and directed by Adam Elliot. The emotionally powerful Mary and Max appears to have been overshadowed by such recent, better-known stop motions as Coraline and The Fantastic Mr. Fox, as well as the fact that it falls smack bang into the middle of the Animation Age Ghetto.

Set in the 1970-90's, and supposedly Very Loosely Based on a True Story, Mary and Max tells the story of a friendship between two unlikely pen pals: Mary, a lonely 8-year-old girl living in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, and Max, an obese 44-year old man living in New York City who is eventually diagnosed as having Asperger's Syndrome. The movie follows the story of their life and friendship over the course of Mary's childhood and adulthood. What appears to start out as a solely blackly humourous story soon turns into something quite dark and often very depressing, dealing with everything from parental neglect, to insecurity, to bullying, to suicide.

Tropes used in Mary and Max include:
  • Abusive Parents: Mary's are mostly neglectful and preoccupied, though her mother also calls her fat and ugly.
  • The Alcoholic: Mary's mother, who is in denial about it.
  • Anachronism Stew
  • Asexual: Max, which makes it doubly funny that Mary asks him where babies come from in America.
  • Babies Ever After
  • Bi the Way: Probably the best way to describe Damien as he does show some genuine interest in Mary at times.
  • Big Applesauce
  • Big Eater: Max, although it only contributes to his obesity.
  • Billing Displacement: Toni Collette gets top billing for playing adult Mary despite only showing up during the final half-hour of the film. The narrator, Hoffman (Max) and Whitmore (Young Mary) have more lines than she does.
  • Birth-Death Juxtaposition: Mary and her baby arrive to visit Max just after he's died.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Max forgives Mary and she comes to visit him for the first time with her newborn baby... only to find that he passed away, albeit peacefully, on the very morning that she arrives.
  • Black Comedy
  • Blind Without'Em: Ivy, Max's neighbor.
  • Bottle Fairy: Mary's mother Vera. Oh so much.
  • Brainy Brunette: Mary fits the trope well, although her hair is closer to black.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Max unintentionally does this in his letters.

 Max: "Do you have a pet kangaroo? When I was born, my father left my mother and me on a kibbutz. She shot herself with my uncle's gun when I was 6. Do you like chocolate hot dogs?"

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