Rare are the romantic films that allow you to actually care about its characters. 2009 had many throwaway romantic comedies, but only a few allowed actual emotional connection. Away We Go has been dismissed by some as being too pretentious, but in our Sex and the City society, there was something refreshing about finding 30-somethings who are still struggling with finding who they are, all while trying to remain a strong married couple. (500) Days of Summer is another film that spoke deeply to many people. Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Tom Hansen has gone through the heartbreak of loving someone who doesn’t quite love him back. Within the first fifteen minutes of Adam, I was already emotionally invested in Adam (played by Hugh Dancy, Confessions of a Shopaholic), our protagonist who struggles with love and life while living with Asperger’s syndrome.
In the opening scenes of Adam, we get a little glimpse into the life of this man living with Asperger’s. Everything in Adam’s apartment is neat and orderly, from his nightly dinner routine to the way the cereal and frozen mac and cheese is stacked. It is obvious that he struggles with the most ordinary of everyday tasks, such as socializing with co-workers. But when a new neighbor, Beth (Rose Byrne, Sunshine), moves in his apartment building and she initiates a friendship with him, he is forced to move out of his comfort zone and bring her into his life. Beth encourages him to do things that he wouldn’t do normally such as attend parties with her friends. She also helps him prepare for a job interview and helps him attain the skills necessary to be successful in that particular situation.
Adam doesn’t have too many people that quite understand him, so he frequently turns to an old family friend named Harlan (Frankie Faison, Hannibal, Cirque de Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant). After Adam’s parents passed away, they asked Harlan to watch out for Adam. Harlan remains a good friend and confidante to him. Frankie Faison and Hugh Dancy have such great chemistry together that the film could have worked well without the romantic aspect at all. That’s not to say that Rose Byrne doesn’t have chemistry with Dancy, she does. Beth is a very important character in Adam’s discovery of pushing his own personal boundaries. But towards the end, the film tries focusing a little too much on the romantic aspect and suffers a little because of it.
Asperger’s syndrome is similar to autism, and people diagnosed with it experience difficulties with social interaction. Adam describes it himself in the film as having a hard time reading people’s emotions. He also has difficulty putting himself in social situations, and he has a tendency to be very dependent upon his daily routines. The film deals more with Adam and how he copes with his relationship with Beth, than about the relationship itself. Just how (500) Days of Summer was “not a love story”, Adam is less a romantic film than a film about the daily struggles of a person with Asperger’s. While not every person with Asperger’s might have the same exact symptoms that Adam experiences, the film gives great insight on what it would be like to have this disorder.
The video is a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. This isn’t necessarily the type of release dependent upon it’s video or audio quality, but everything looked clear and the soundtrack was nicely enhanced by the audio quality.
Commentary with writer/director Max Mayer
Alternate ending with optional commentary with writer/director Max Mayer – This is the ending that was used when screening the movie at Sundance. It’s much shorter, but still doesn’t quite fit with the rest of the story. It seems like Mayer just wanted to end it and couldn’t figure out how. (3:43)
Deleted and alternate scenes – There are 5 total, and the commentary explains how important some of these scenes were during the writing process. None are important to the story however. (7:50 total runtime)
Creating Adam – The actors talk about their characters. (7:51)
Trailers – Post Grad, (500) Days of Summer, Whip It, All About Steve
Adam is a refreshing film. Instead of isolating Adam because of his disorder, the film embraces it and handles it with great care. The only place it suffers is in it’s ending, but that doesn’t take away from the impact of the rest of the film. Hugh Dancy is going to be an actor that I’ll be looking for in the future.
20th Century Fox presents Adam. Directed by: Max Mayer. Starring: Hugh Dancy, Rose Byrne, Frankie Faison, Peter Gallagher, Amy Irving. Written by: Max Mayer. Running time: 99 minutes. Rating: PG-13. Released on DVD: February 2, 2010. Available at Amazon.com.
Jenny is proud to be the First Lady of Inside Pulse Movies. She gives female and mommy perspective, and has two kids who help with rating family movies. (If they don't like 'em, what's the point?) She prefers horror movies to chick flicks, and she can easily hang with the guys as long as there are several frou-frou girlie drinks to be had.