Adam (12A)

Written and directed by Max Mayer
On general release from 7th August 2009

Reviewed by Mari Jones

Quirky American indie comedies appear to have been growing in popularity ever since Juno was such a hit. Adam is a film which seemingly follows this trend, but which actually portrays serious issues. It is about the life of a young man who has Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism that makes it difficult to relate to others and make sense of the world.

When we first meet Adam he has just lost his father and he has begun living by himself for the first time. Although he has a friend (Harlan, played by Frankie Faison), Adam seems lonely and bored with life. That is until he meets the new neighbour in his building, a kind schoolteacher called Beth (Rose Byrne).

Adam is played by British actor Hugh Dancy, who portrays him with absolute conviction, and who never slips up with his American accent. His awkward mannerisms, constantly shifting eyes and fast, open speeches about space and telescopes draw us into Adam’s world, making us realise the difficulties he can sometimes face.

This is a film that shows the viewer exactly what Asperger’s Syndrome is. It also shows that people with Asperger’s are capable of leading normal lives by themselves: Adam has a job as a technical toy manufacturer and also has no problem with the idea of sex and relationships. “I’m not Forrest Gump you know,” jokes Adam, making a funny and inevitable comparison that shows the viewer this film wants to tell you the truth about this disability and not gloss over it like a typical Hollywood film would.

However this film does have its flaws. Although Adam is funny, it isn’t exactly going to be competing in the laughter stakes with other comedies, and it isn’t particularly memorable. That said it is an interesting film that teaches you something about Asperger’s and the people who have it. Although some parts are predictable, the ending is not. And when it’s sad, it’s very sad.

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