Raccoons and Spacemen
Adam (Hugh Dancy) is a very clever young man who is fascinated with space but he also suffers from Asperger syndrome which not only means he is focussed on the detail and repeating things but also unaware of how to react in social situations. Despite this his new neighbour upstairs Beth Buchwald (Rose Byrne), a teacher and wannabe writer, becomes attracted to him as his curious odd ways intrigue her till he admits to her he has Asperger syndrome. And so starts a sweet romance as the self centred Beth begins to focus on helping Adam as following the death of his father and the loss of his job has nothing. But their relationship has problems as Beth's parents are not happy that she is seeing, the in their eyes odd, Adam and that is made even more complicated when Adam asks Beth's father some unwelcome questions over an impending court case.
There are three things going on in "Adam" and they start with the beautiful, the relationship which forms between Adam and Beth. Watching the self centred Beth become aware that there is someone else in her universe and she feels drawn to is beautiful. And watching how the relationship grows with Beth mentoring Adam to be more socially aware is so sweet. Much of that is down to the sweet chemistry between Hugh Dancy and Rose Byrne, so gentle and so pure that it is impossible to not be charmed by the blossoming friendship which turns into romance. All of which I have to say is aided by some cute cinematography and an equally cute yet appropriate soundtrack.
The second of which is a fantastic look into the world of Asperger syndrome and whilst I am no expert on the subject the way it is presented is exceptional. There is the obvious aspects of showing this aspect of order and detail such as a brief scene which shows Adam's food lined up in his freezer, the same food every day all neatly lined up. But then we have the less obvious and in a scene which focuses on Adam working on his computer you can see his plate of food with each item in its neat separate pile, it is a nice bit of subliminal production which establishes Adam's world without spoon feeding it to us. And as we watch Adam get caught up talking about space you suddenly realise it is a mixture of enthusiasm but also an inability to control it, unaware of what is right.
But then there is the third thing and that for me this is the manufactured side of "Adam" as it creates drama as things don't go well when Beth's parents are brought in to the equation, challenged by Adam and the way he is. I won't go in to detail but it turns a smart, sweet and insightful movie into something cliche and in doing so whilst trying to be clever it delivers a picture book ending which betrays the first half of the movie.
What this all boils down to is that "Adam" is a movie which will touch you and draw you in to the lives of these two people and the sweet relationship which forms. But then it might just disappoint in the way it flicks from smart and insightful to cliche.
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