Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Adam" - spoiler movie review

I had seen the one-sheet for "Adam" but didn't really know anything about the movie until I heard a blurb on some radio show, and that piqued my interest.

Beth moves into a new apartment in New York and has an encounter with odd fellow-resident Adam. She has several more odd encounters with him but is nevertheless drawn to him. She then learns that he has Asperger's Syndrome, and while she is hesitant at first to develop any sort of relationship with him, she (and we) learns more about him and really gets to like him. Meanwhile, she is dealing with her parents, and a father who is not what he appears to be.

I really loved this movie, for many reasons. It's a small quirky story, which in that sense reminds me a little of "Juno" - very much character based. It's not stated until later in the movie that Adam is an Aspie, so we follow the journey with Beth, thinking initially that Adam is just quirky and then being told later that it's actually a medical condition that accounts for his behaviour. Once Beth figures out what social situations Adam has problems with, she is much more able to help him adjust. An innocent situation where Adam goes to visit Beth's school after he is fired turns into a nightmare for him when cops are called because he is watching the children, further complicated when he can't understand why the cops are treating him that way. The relationship that develops between Beth and Adam is very sweet and very honest - at least on Adam's end, but when Adam finds out that Beth lied to him, over something fairly non-important, he does not know how to handle it and loses control. Meanwhile, Beth is on edge herself since her father is on trial, and while he has consistently told her that he's innocent, she not only finds out that he's actually guilty but that he has also cheated on her mother, having an affair with the daughter of a family friend.

But Adam conquers his fears and goes to see her, even telling her that he's conquered even more by accepting a job in California. When he tells her that he can't go without her, it's a very sweet moment. But later, when she finds out that he almost literally means that, because he needs someone to help him acclimate, it's heartbreaking when she realizes that she can't go with him for that reason. I liked that he went on his own anyway, and I especially loved the ending. They're both doing fine, she's written a book, and it's left open-ended about where their stories will go next, whether together or apart.

I particularly enjoyed the movie because I don't know much about Aspies, and I'm realizing that even with Aspies (as opposed to autistics), there is a wide range of behaviours and understandings. I loved the sequences of Beth teaching Adam how to act when he has to go on an interview, and it was hilarious when there was the misunderstanding when Adam asked about whether she was aroused at a particular time, freaking her out, until he explained about being an Aspie.

I've not seen Hugh Dancy's earlier work, but he is absolutely terrific in this film as the title character.

Rose Byrne was also terrific as Beth. I don't really know her, though I have APPARENTLY seen her in "Knowing", but I can't remember who she played.

Peter Gallagher was his usual terrific self in this film, even though his character (Beth's dad) is basically an ass.

I hadn't known that Amy Irving was in this film, and it was nice to see her, though she looks different than I remember her. She was very good as Beth's mom.

Frankie Faison was absolutely terrific as Harlan, the friend of Adam's father who takes care of a lot of stuff for him. The character starts out fairly non-descript, but as the film progresses, he really turns into a very interesting character, well played.

I'm not sure how this film is going to be sold to audiences, and I think that might prove to be a difficult task, but I certainly hope it works. This is a movie I would definitely recommend.

1 comment:

jediyven@gmx.de said...

Hi! I saw the movie yesterday and the ending really touched me. I don't know if it was positive or negative way though. I think the ending was meant to be hopefully for both Adam and Beth, but I really wished for them to get back together in the end, when Adam has learned to live on his own.
I was depressed the whole day, it really took me down.