Monday, July 5, 2010

Adam: Movie Review

A sensitive film for a sensitive soul.

The adjectives used to market Adam include: romantic, funny, delightful, poignant, uplifting, humorous. I have to disagree with most of those, especially: funny, humorous and delightful. A comedy it is not. But that's not to say that it isn't good. It's very good. 2009

Directed by: Max Mayer

Screenplay by: Max Mayer

Starring: Hugh Dancy and Rose Byrne

Adam is a tumultuous romantic relationship story centered on a young man with Asberger's syndrome. Hugh Dancy stars as the titular Adam, handsome and brilliant, but completely boxed-in. Life has always been difficult for Adam given that he can’t understand emotions of others, can’t detect sarcasm or hyperbole, but life has gotten more difficult for Adam now that his father has passed away.

Adam has a new neighbour moving into an apartment upstairs. Beth (Rose Byrne) is beautiful, sociable and unreserved, not somebody who Adam can understand very well, but he’s attracted to her. Here’s the beautiful thing about Beth and more importantly about the film, she cares. Unlike most people Adam meet who can be rude to those who are different, she’s intrigued by his differences.

Mayer’s creation of Adam and Hugh Dancy’s portrayal of him are very realistic and very loving. Adam is not some stereotyped deviant, but somebody with his own life plan trying to understand somebody else’s. All of the characters are essentially treated this way including Peter Gallagher as Beth’s father, Amy Irving as Beth’s mother, and Frankie Faison as Adam’s guardian – there is an authenticity to all of them and their reactions, and they are also layered with complexity and genuine emotion. The film also manages to write in a storyline for each character that perfectly complements the main storyline of Adam and Beth’s relationship.

Given their differences in how they function in life, their relationship will not be easy, but the warmth that imbibes Adam is driven by the fact that they both care.

Adam is a sensitive soul, and Adam is a sensitive film. There’s a completeness to this film where the characters, the screenplay, the score and the simplistic beauty of the cinematography all augment one another. It’s not very theatrical, but it shouldn’t be. It slowly, but sweetly, examines the difficulties of life.

Of the adjectives to describe "Adam" I would use: genuine, sentimental, and heartbreaking. It is one of the best written films of its kind, but loses stars because of mis-marketing. It's not even close to a romantic comedy, perhaps it's a romantic drama if it can even be categorized.
Best of 2010

Similar Titles:

The Station Agent (2003) - Characters who walk the right-of-way.