Movie Review: "Adam"

Writer and director Max Mayer has just created another winner for Fox Searchlight Pictures.  “Adam” evokes emotion, personality, and originality unlike most new films of today.  It is movies like this that is giving Fox Searchlight such good reputation.  This dramatic love story screenplay was chosen as the 12th Annual Writers’ Network Fiction and Screenplay winner.  I don’t know if we have another “The Wrestler” or “Slumdog Millionaire” on our hands, but “Adam” definitely deserves some buzz.

I really didn’t know much going into the film other then who is the distributor and that it was a love story of two opposites.  Basically, that’s all I needed to know to understand I was probably in for a treat.  No disappointment here.  This is a movie that starts off intriguing yet manages to hold your interest throughout by creating all the necessities of a good movie.  Max Mayer has created two captivating characters played by terrific actors able to pull every emotion from the audience.  The plot is basic with some twists, but is able to pull forth uniqueness with some realness.  Best of all… no cookie cutter resolution.

“Adam” is the most heartfelt movie of the year that deals with many relatable relationship issues.   The case of our star is what sets this apart from an ordinary romantic comedy.  Hugh Dancy (“The Jane Austen Book Club”, “Confessions of a Shopaholic”) plays Adam, an eccentric that has recently lost his father and been living his life quietly in New York City until a new cute neighbor moves into his building.  Rose Byrne (“28 Weeks Later”, “Knowing”) plays the adorable, friendly, and lovable neighbor, Beth.  She immediately finds Adam attractive even after it’s obvious upon their first encounter he suffers from social interaction abilities.

Beth begins becoming interested in Adam before knowing that he is actually diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, which is associated with autism.  Adam has autistic tendencies, but Asperger’s has a higher degree of functionality allowing him to live a normal independent life.  However, he still has poor social skills.  This syndrome also causes obsession toward specific subjects allowing Adam to be very smart in certain fields like astronomy, but lacks emotional reciprocity.  He has difficulty telling what another is thinking causing him challenges within relationships.

Even though Adam suffers from many things that will make their relationship extremely difficult, Beth is comforted by his honesty.  She is coming out of bad relationship where the man cheated several times.  What Beth has to face is whether or not Adam will ever truly be able to love or show any real closeness.  These are still real problems that are dealt with every single day in normal relationships.  Regardless of Adam’s condition, the audience can still relate to the two and their “wants” in the relationship.

The movie also deals with Beth’s father, Marty (Peter Gallagher), who has been indicted and his persuasion to not let his daughter get involved with Adam.  He truly wants what’s best for her, but doesn’t really understand what actually is best for her.  Instead he is pushing for her to marry a rich man even if he has flaws.  Beth has absolute trust in her father, but Adam being as blunt as he is, feels otherwise and isn’t afraid to ask the inappropriate questions.  It is her dad and how he is that made her realize who she really is.
I really appreciated how Beth’s dad isn’t just some jerk of a father.  Instead, he is still a very loving father and wants his family to be happy; however he is just trying to live vicariously through Beth.  This is problematic for Beth as she sees people a little differently.  Hence Adam who is not someone she would typically go after.  At the beginning it seems forced as she was seemingly looking for any guy who walked into her life.  Luckily, Adam is encouraged to make some moves from his friend Harlan, Frankie Faison, making it so she just didn’t instantly fall for Adam.  It does appear this way at the beginning though.  This was really the only problem I had with the movie though.

Hugh Dancy does a magnificent job portraying someone with Asperger’s and really shines throughout the movie.  It really was a breakthrough performance along with Rose Byrne.  You’ll fall in love with Rose and then feel every emotion she goes through while she tries to figure out if she is doing the right thing.

The movie has the feel of “Garden State”, but is a little more dramatic.  Being a love story you expect those cheesy moments except in this movie, there are none.  In my book, it’s a successfully made romance if you can avoid these cringing moments.

The acting really was top notch and the script was well written.  I found myself glued to the screen as if I was a part of these people’s lives.  I don’t know if I have ever rated a movie this high, but I think I am going to have to give “Adam” 5 stars.  My one complaint wasn’t really justified later in the movie anyway.  This is a movie that was made for all the right reasons.  “Adam” has heart and realism to our everyday lives in society.  I became immersed within the film just by their acting and intense scenes.  No action required, just a moving screenplay.  I highly recommend giving this surprise hit of the summer a try.

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