Tuesday, August 4, 2009

ADAM (2009)

Written & Directed by Max Mayer

Where & When: Arclight Cinemas, Hollywood, CA, August 3, 2009 7:40PM

When I first saw the trailer for "Adam" a few months ago, I said to myself "There is no way I'm going to go see this.". I thought this would be another bad Hollywood movie about an unlikely romance but after reading some great reviews and all of the film festival accolades, I thought I might give "Adam" a chance. And I am so glad I did. This is a wonderfully unusual and sweet romantic drama. I think that trailer did a great disservice to this film and I hope it doesn't keep other people away because of it. The only good thing about the trailer is that it didn't give too much away about the film and I got to enjoy the surprises that are there.

Now I still think the romance is very unlikely but I thought the film executes it in an atypical and clever way. The film begins in New York city, with Adam (A brilliant Hugh Dancy) whose father has just passed away. He works as an electronics engineer and he seems very sweet and intelligent but there is something about him that is slightly off. Rose Byrne plays Beth, a school teacher who moves in to the building. She has just ended a bad relationship and dating is the last thing on her mind but finds herself attracted to the strange young man. Adam is also attracted to her but has difficulty in expressing that properly.

Beth soon discovers that Adam has Asperger's syndrome which is a type of pervasive development disorder. It most notably affects his ability to socialize with others, to communicate and use his imagination. Relationships are hard to begin with and when you add this to the mix, well...

While Beth is attempting to make sense of her relationship with Adam, she is also dealing with her father (Peter Gallagher) who is on trial for some questionable business dealings. During the trial, Beth and her mother (Amy Irving, looking good and good to see back on the screen) discover an ugly secret. This combined with a little white lie Beth tells to Adam causes some friction in their relationship. Can they really make this romance work? Go check out the film to find out.

Mr. Dancy 's portrayal of Adam is what really holds this film together. He is truly convincing as he struggles to convey his feelings to Beth. One issue I had with the film is that it takes Beth a LONG time to realize that there is something a little "different" about Adam. In fact, she remains clueless until Adam actually tells her he has Asperger's. I guess she must have a really low self esteem because she is thinking that it's something she's doing to make Adam behave strangely towards her. Another issue I had is after Adam's father passes away, nobody including Harlan (Frankie Faison), the family friend steps up to help Adam manage. He's behaviour is literally like a child at times and I don't think he is capable of properly taking care of himself and yet he is pretty much left to his own devices to get through life. Despite these quibbles, I really did enjoy the film. It is worth seeing and Mr. Dancy's performance should be remembered during award season.