Adam (2009) – Review

Adam is so dry and unimaginative that even Hugh Dancy’s portrayal of the film’s title character doesn’t save it from terrible direction. The matter of Adam’s condition is one that has always captivated me. There was a certain air the trailer carried—one that led me to believe the film was something else entirely. Instead, what I saw before me was something of a trite mess overlaying a missed opportunity for something excellent.

Dancy does a fine job in his role as Adam, a gifted young male with an unmatched mind in space, theater, and electronics. He also has Asperger’s syndrome. Adam falls for Beth (Rose Byrne), a school teacher at the local kindergarten as well as his neighbor. Her story is far less interesting, and unfortunately for us, saturates the latter half of the film.

The acting is passable as heartless, save for Dancy. The cinematography is only memorable at the film’s climax where we see Adam strolling through empty winter streets. The soundtrack isn’t anything impressive and neither takes or adds from the picture. But more importantly is what a missed opportunity Adam really is. When we should have been taken into the often troubled (and sometimes creative) mind of one with Asperger’s, we are taken into a court room in-between scenes of an uninteresting, though at times believable, relationship between the film’s two principal characters.

But maybe I’m missing the point entirely because the film does birth an attachment to the film’s title character, Adam, by way of his genuinity and it is undeniable that it does too raise questions. That said, one thing that Adam does well is how believe it really all is. Or at the least, could be. Adam’s relationship with Beth is at times natural, felt. But it is too at times distasteful. It is in those moments of detachment that sympathy is felt. It is in those moments of detachment that the characters show development.

Beth’s father, Marty (Peter Gallagher) is perhaps to be the secondary character of focus as he is a man of face value. His so-called “normal”, “respectable” life finds him seated in a court room defending accusations. Here it is that I believe we’re to draw parallels between Adam and he, but of what reason have we?

Adam is disappointing yes, but it introduced me to Hugh Dancy and for that I thank it openly.



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