Adam | Film Reviews | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Adam 

Autistic License: Adam is a simple, light comedy with dramatic underpinnings.

Pin It
Favorite
art8927widea.jpg

If I told you that Adam was about a man with Asperger’s syndrome—a form of high-functioning autism—you’d lose all interest in it, right? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Relax, though; it’s actually a humorously bittersweet story buoyed by likable performances, and not an “oh geez, here comes another film about a saintly disabled person” movie.

Adam (Hugh Dancy) is an electronic engineer who now lives alone, following the death of his father, in a Manhattan apartment. People with Asperger’s take things literally and have trouble knowing what other people are thinking, and they tend to misread facial expressions, but aside from that, they do OK. Adam is happiest when following a routine. He loves astronomy. He doesn’t seem much different from your average nerd.

The new tenant in his building, Beth (Rose Byrne), is immediately fascinated by Adam’s quirky personality, not realizing it’s an actual condition—and after all, where is the line between “interesting” and “diagnosable”? Adam and Beth begin a tentative friendship and eventually a romance, though both are aware that such an arrangement will be difficult.

But this isn’t some cheesy movie about a wise “special needs” person who teaches life lessons to those around him. On the contrary, writer/director Max Mayer is not afraid to show Adam in a negative light or to have Beth lose patience with him. I don’t know if “realistic” is the word I would use to describe the plot—it is, at heart, a romantic comedy about cute people behaving cutely—but it does break free from many clichés, and the characters are believable.

Central to the film’s success is Dancy’s smiling, earnest performance as Adam, a role that easily could have turned one-dimensional and sappy. There is much to admire in Byrne, too, who has chemistry with Dancy and a girl-next-door sexiness of her own. As a pair, Dancy and Byrne are easy to like. It’s a simple, light comedy with dramatic underpinnings, and a pleasant way to spend an evening.

ADAM

3_stars.gif

Hugh Dancy, Rose Byrne, Peter Gallagher
Rated PG-13

Pin It
Favorite

Speaking of Sideshow, ,

  • Walk of Shame, The Lego Movie

    New DVD/VOD Tuesday, June 17
    • Jun 16, 2014
  • Drinking-Class Zero

    Following a night of drinking, Wendy Simpson, 25, walked to a McDonald’s restaurant in West Yorkshire, England, where she was told that the counter was closed and only the drive-through was open but that she couldn’t be served
    • Jun 16, 2014
  • Night Moves

    Night Moves is as terrific as it is frustrating
    • Jun 13, 2014
  • More »

More by Eric D. Snider

  • Giant Leap

    Neil Armstrong's private world drives the biopic First Man.
    • Oct 10, 2018
  • Playing for Keeps

    Game Night finds the fun in people who don't know the game is real.
    • Feb 21, 2018
  • More »

Latest in Film Reviews

  • Houses Divided

    Two new films highlight a politically fractured America.
    • Oct 17, 2018
  • Giant Leap

    Neil Armstrong's private world drives the biopic First Man.
    • Oct 10, 2018
  • Everything Old Is New Again

    A fresh take on A Star Is Born both elevates and hinders it.
    • Oct 3, 2018
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Kid Stuff

    A lovely child performance anchors the satisfying family drama of Gifted.
    • Apr 12, 2017
  • If You're Going to San Francisco

    Fifty years on, Monterey Pop captures something that was more than a musical moment.
    • Jun 14, 2017

© 2018 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation