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Overall Rating
3

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look36.36%
Average: 27.27%
Pretty Bad36.36%
Total Crap: 0%

3 reviews, 4 user ratings


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Adam
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by William Goss

"Not Knowing Better, Together"
3 stars

The movie and the character by the name of 'Adam' both mean well, Iíll give Ďem that.

Adam, the character as played by Hugh Dancy, has Aspergerís syndrome, which reduces his level of social interaction and general ability to empathize with others. Having not known anyone with Aspergerís, I can only guess that Dancy does an accurate job of portraying Adam as a smart but awkward young man whose routine is thrown astray once his father passes away.

Adam, the movie, though, doesnít let us in on his condition for a good thirty minutes, during which he loses his dad and his job and during which he meets cute with new neighbor Beth (Rose Byrne). Do we hold the movie responsible for having us laugh at the character because we didnít know that he didnít know better when certain foibles come to light?

Weíd have to ask writer-director Max Mayer, who I do believe means well, as does Dancy, as does everyone involved (though Byrneís attempts to perk up her voice come at the cost of a reliable American accent). Thatís how these movies are made after all, with good intentions. It wonít going to set the box office aflame any time soon, but itíll warm the hearts of any who ask it to, albeit in familiar melodramatic fashion. It just depends how much it bugs you that Bethís dad (Peter Gallagher) is under investigation for corporate crimes and doesnít want her settling for someone like Adam, and it just depends how much it bugs you that weíve been assured by movies like this before that Adam and Beth, both being imperfect people, will help one another against all odds.

And, frankly, I thought Adam, the movie would bug me more than it did, because of the contempt that familiarity breeds and the frequent laziness of filmmaking that means well and the cynical chip I tend to carry on my shoulder day by day. But Adam, the character won me over, by depending less on quirky gestures like cleaning Bethís windows while in an astronaut suit (yes, really) and more on his and her little efforts to make a relationship work through tiny gestures and compromises that no courtroom-bound subplot can dictate. Maybe thatís more to the credit of Mayer as director than writer, as he shoots NYC in a flattering yet understated way that makes the tiny gestures ring more true while his writerís instincts only come across as more false.

Take away the Aspergerís, and 'Adam' is a very familiar tale of age-old forbidden love and modern romantic neuroses that still might grate at some whoíd rather not bother (and immediately win over those so very fond of anything remotely twee). After months of being subjected to a two-minute quirk-heavy trailer, I feared it might just grate on yours truly, but while I came for 'Adam,' the movie, I stayed for Adam, the character, and frankly, there are harder rocks and places to be stuck between.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=18163&reviewer=409
originally posted: 08/29/09 04:57:35
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2009 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 CineVegas Film Festival For more in the 2009 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Seattle International Film Festival For more in the 2009 Seattle International Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Edinburgh International Film Festival For more in the 2009 Edinburgh International Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

1/22/11 Beverley M Sporck I enjoyed this film and gained insight into a common social disorder in our society. 4 stars
7/11/10 Charles Tatum Sweet romance helped immensely by leads' chemistry 4 stars
4/02/10 ES weak-ending(s) and the gf comes off as a b*tch most of the second half. Coulda been great 2 stars
9/07/09 PAUL SHORTT FAILS TO CRACK THE SURFACE OF ITS DELICATE AND COMPLEX SUBJECT 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  29-Jul-2009 (PG-13)
  DVD: 02-Feb-2010

UK
  N/A

Australia
  29-Jul-2009
  DVD: 02-Feb-2010


Directed by
  Max Mayer

Written by
  Max Mayer

Cast
  Hugh Dancy
  Rose Byrne
  Peter Gallagher
  Amy Irving
  Frankie Faison
  Mark Linn-Baker



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