FILM RATING: 3.5 stars
Adam (2009) is the kind of delicate, interesting love story that I wish Dear John (2010) was. They’re both good movies. But Adam (3.5 stars out of 5) is a movie that has a heart and soul that Dear John only acted like it had. Having watched both movies this weekend, it’s ironic how similar yet different they are. It felt perfect for me to blog about both back to back, so that I could compare and contrast them. The production design and photography is better in Dear John, but the writing and acting in Adam is what makes it stand out. I’m sure Adam had a single-digit percentage of the budget that Dear John had, but the filmmakers squeezed every cent out of it. It’s not a flashy film, but solidly crafted. The casting was spot on for all of the characters in the film, and I found myself escaping into the world created by writer/director Max Mayer.
There’s a subtle and loving simplicity to the story and the lead character of Adam, played convincingly and perfectly by actor Hugh Dancy. From the first scenes of the movie, I was immediately drawn into Adam’s world. I wanted to understand his life and the challenges he has having Asperger’s Syndrome (a high functioning version of Autism). Asperger’s seems to be a “popular” condition lately in TVs and movies, as it is highlighted in Dear John, Parenthood, and Adam. I saw a bit of myself in Adam, because he’s really just another guy growing up and learning how to be an adult. He’s a little behind the rest of us at age 29, but the journey feels so similar to me. He fears change and likes routine. He doesn’t know how to socially interact with people, especially women. Adam lost his mother when he was a child and grew up living only with his father, until his recent death. Now Adam is on his own and he is forced to change and mature simply to survive. He also loses his job, which of course adds to the frustration and difficulty Adam feels.
By the end of the movie, we’ve gone on a journey with Adam…and his neighbor and love interest Beth, played by Rose Byrne. It’s an interesting journey in which there isn’t a perfect Hollywood happy ending, and yet it is a hopeful ending. It’s small indie films like Adam that give me hope and inspiration as a filmmaker. I’m glad to see that these movies are still being made, even though most of Hollywood is focused on big budget blockbuster sequels for comic book and action heroes. Adam is a hero in my eyes…for living his life the best that he can with the tough circumstances he’s been given. This film made me think about how we all have a place in this world of ours. We all have a role to play. Adam is brilliant and extremely intelligent in his own way, especially with astronomy and science. We need people like Adam in our world just like we need “normal” people. You won’t go wrong giving this small film a chance to surprise you.