Adam , which won the Alfred P. Sloan Prize at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival is the story of a young man with Aspergers Syndrome, a disability on the autism spectrum, which renders him unable to understand non-verbal cues or body language. Adam (played by Hugh Dancy) is a brilliant, astronomy obsessed young man who has much to deal with as the movie opens. His father has just died and he’s just lost his job at a toy company. He needs to have a job in order to pay his mortgage or he risks having to move out of New York City. Never mind that Adam’s never been outside the city by himself or lived anywhere accept his brownstone. Never mind that people with Aspergers don’t deal with change well. Suddenly Adam’s simple life just got a lot more complicated.
Enter Beth (played by Rose Byrne), Adam’s attractive new neighbor. Adam’s already too complicated life just got a little more complex, but at least this time it was in a positive direction. The audience follows Beth and Adam as they try to find a way to make love work between a man with Aspergers and neuro typically functioning woman. Note: some people on the autism spectrum refer to those not on the spectrum as NTs or Neuro Typicals. Some say this term is a put down. Others say it’s just an observation.
Beth and Adam face two big obstacles on the road to happily ever after. One is Beth’s father, who has Beth’s ideal man designed in his own head, with little input from Beth. The other is whether they can overcome their own differences.
Audiences will enjoy the ride. Perhaps they will like the fact that the film doesn’t follow standard romantic comedy guidelines and have everyone end up ice cream sundae happy. Instead it leaves things unfinished just like life, but there is a note of hope. Another feature on the DVD is a complete commentary with the director/writer Max Mayer and the producer Leslie Urdang, as well as deleted and alternate scenes.
People with and without Aspergers will enjoy Dancy’s portrayal of Adam as a man who is so much more than his impairment, who must interact with a world that see’s him as nothing but. Women will relate to Beth’s various dilemmas. Should she choose a mate to please her parents or herself? Can she love Adam despite his differences? This a good date movie, particularly for couples who like a little deep thought along with their couch cuddling.