Though Adam will probably fly under the radar this summer, overshadowed by the likes of more publicized films such as 500 Days of Summer and Away We Go, this quirky romantic comedy is one that is worth seeking out, with its tackling of a disorder that affects as many as three out of 1,000 people, reports a 2005 study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry and evolution of Hugh Dancy, whose time in Confessions of a Shopaholic almost completely fades away after his performance as Adam.
Check out our review below…
With all its heartbreak, awkward moments and miscommunication, love is simply put, hard. Throw Asperger Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism that is characterized by an inability to read what other people are thinking and feeling in the mix, and things get elevated to an entirely new level, and that’s exactly what happens when Adam, a shy, socially sheltered, yet extremely bright and enthusiastic man meets his new neighbor Beth (Rose Byrne) a young, aspiring children’s book author who moves in next door.
Though Adam, with his personality quirks and odd behavior that Beth can’t seem to figure out is world away from the men she’s known before, a chemistry between the two begins brewing. Adam somehow charms her with his fascination of a family of raccoons in Central Park and makes a virtual solar system in his apartment for her, while Beth begins to teach Adam the ways of the world. Though whether the relationship survives through the course of the film remains to be seen, the result is a humorous and unconventional relationship that breaks the mold of cliched and cookie cutter romantic comedies.
- Spotlight on Asperger Syndrome – Adam puts a disorder on the map that not only many may not know about, but at a convenient time, as Asperger Syndrome sufferer Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the U.S on computer hacking charges. Asperger Syndrome, which is on the autism spectrum, has seen a rise in diagnosis in recent years, although very few films have addressed the disorder, excluding Mozart and the Whale, starring Josh Hartnett, which had a limited release.
- Hugh Dancy – Though it might be premature to say Dancy’s performance as Adam is award worthy, especially coming after such an airy film as Confessions of a Shopaholic, his versatility shines when he portrays all the characteristics of Asperger’s in relation to Adam and those around him. His mannerisms and dialogue delivery draw you in to the point where you feel Adam’s pain and share his laughter – this is one of the many mark’s of great acting, and Dancy accomplishes it this round.
- Plot line – This is one fine romantic comedy that does not by any means fall under the curse of its genre – it’s original, funny and doesn’t rely on gimmicks, crass humor or a rehashing of the tired and tested plot lines of its predecessors. From Adam trying to clean Beth’s windows in a NASA space suit, to Beth’s introduction of Adam to her parents, where he subsequently rattles off the entire history of the Cherry Lane Theatre in NYC from memory, Adam will make you laugh, smirk and exercise your strength to control heavier emotions. It’s the type of romantic comedy you can appreciate, without it leaving a bad aftertaste in your mouth.
- Peter Gallagher – Listen, I like Peter Gallagher, I truly do, especially when he flashes those Groucho Marx eyebrows at me, but in all honesty I’m a bit sick of him playing the never ending supporting role of the suave dad/business man with tricks up his sleeve, although he plays it well. Gallagher’s portrayal as Beth’s patriarch dad, while believable, just reminds me in his previous similar roles (The O.C, How to Deal) and takes the focus away from the story.
- Script: Slight tweaking required – Though the script is well written and not particularly overwhelming (pauses and subtle body language is always better than having the characters unrealistically speak at every turn) a few minor adjustments should have been made to smooth out the kinks, such as both Adam and Beth repeating statements as questions.
Adam is a breath of fresh air not in its typically unoriginal genre. Its focus on a disorder that many suffer from, coupled with an amazing performance by Hugh Dancy and Rose Byrne is film making you can appreciate and savor, long after you’ve stepped out the theater and thrown away your popcorn.
Opens July 29 with limited release. Directed and written by Max Mayer; Producers, Miranda De Pencier, Leslie Urdang, Dean Vanech; Music, Christopher Lennertz; Cinematography, Seamus Tierney