By Janet Hrezo, The Brevard Center
You may not have seen “Adam”, an independent film released in 2009, but you should and, thanks to DVD, now you can. A romantic comedy/drama, the film focuses on a young man, Adam, with Asperger’s.
What makes this an extraordinary film is its portrayal of Adam as a real person rather than a stereotype. Adam, in his twenties and living in New York City, finds his life turned upside down after the death of his father and the loss of his job.
A new neighbor, Beth, finds him attractive and interesting but a little odd. What begins as a friendship becomes a romance and Beth and Adam must struggle to overcome the problems faced by all couples as well as the challenges that come with Asperger’s.
Hugh Dancy, as Adam, is wonderful. He’s perfect both in showing us the physical aspects of Asperger’s and in revealing the feelings of his character. Adam may not be able to say “I love you” to Beth but we know, from Dancy’s performance, what she means to him.
“Adam” works because it’s an honest and accurate depiction of a person with Asperger’s as well as a charming and an engaging love story. It entertains and educates by focusing on the social challenges Adam must deal with in maintaining a relationship with Beth and the emotional issues that Beth must cope with in loving a man who has, as he terms it, “mind blindness”.
This is not a perfect film, a subplot about Beth’s father is totally unnecessary, but it is a breakthrough in terms of presenting a character with Asperger’s as a real person. Adam is who he is and, like all of us, must make his way in the world. He is special both because of Aperger’s and in spite of it.