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Adam

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ADAM

US, 2009, 99 minutes, Colour.
Hugh Dancey, Rose Byrne, Peter Gallagher, Amy Irving, Frankie Faison.
Directed by Max Mayer.

A romantic comedy – with a difference. Aren't they all? Well, this one has a significant difference: Asperges Syndrome.

Perhaps a description of the Syndrome is in order so that Adam's behaviour is more comprehensible. Asperges is a form of autism but is generally distinguished from classic autism by higher linguistic and cognitive functioning. Characteristics could include obsession or preoccupation with some subjects to the exclusion of others; repetitive routines and rituals; socially inappropriate behaviour; lack of emotional reciprocity; difficulty in reading what people are thinking.

The story is rather straightforward, familiar in style to many a New York romance. A young man buries his father who took care of him. He has Asperges Syndrome and now has to manage by himself. He encounters a vivacious young teacher, Beth, who moves into one of the apartments in the block. She is puzzled at first. He explains himself and she tries to adapt in her relationship with him. The difficulty is that he lacks the capacity to read people's emotions in their faces and body language. And he is basically blunt and truthful in his comments. As with some autistic men and women, he is highly intelligent and, when asked, offers encyclopedic answers to questions or simple leading remarks.

In the background are the young woman's parents and a difficult court case.

Hugh Dancy has emerged as a pleasing leading man (Evening, Confessions of a Shopaholic) and makes Adam a credible character with the audience trying to be empathetic towards him and the consequences of his condition as well as wondering, perhaps, how we might respond to him in real life. Rose Byrne is the teacher who makes efforts to adapt but finds that she lapses under pressure, especially with the prospect of her father's imprisonment. Her parents are played by veterans, Peter Gallagher and Amy Irving.

The plot development is not quite as we might have anticipated. However, it offers a pleasing story of relationships and challenges as well as giving the audience an opportunity to see and feel a story of a personal condition rather than simply respond to a medical definition.A romantic comedy – with a difference. Aren't they all? Well, this one has a significant difference: Asperges Syndrome.

Perhaps a description of the Syndrome is in order so that Adam's behaviour is more comprehensible. Asperges is a form of autism but is generally distinguished from classic autism by higher linguistic and cognitive functioning. Characteristics could include obsession or preoccupation with some subjects to the exclusion of others; repetitive routines and rituals; socially inappropriate behaviour; lack of emotional reciprocity; difficulty in reading what people are thinking.

The story is rather straightforward, familiar in style to many a New York romance. A young man buries his father who took care of him. He has Asperges Syndrome and now has to manage by himself. He encounters a vivacious young teacher, Beth, who moves into one of the apartments in the block. She is puzzled at first. He explains himself and she tries to adapt in her relationship with him. The difficulty is that he lacks the capacity to read people's emotions in their faces and body language. And he is basically blunt and truthful in his comments. As with some autistic men and women, he is highly intelligent and, when asked, offers encyclopedic answers to questions or simple leading remarks.

In the background are the young woman's parents and a difficult court case.

Hugh Dancy has emerged as a pleasing leading man (Evening, Confessions of a Shopaholic) and makes Adam a credible character with the audience trying to be empathetic towards him and the consequences of his condition as well as wondering, perhaps, how we might respond to him in real life. Rose Byrne is the teacher who makes efforts to adapt but finds that she lapses under pressure, especially with the prospect of her father's imprisonment. Her parents are played by veterans, Peter Gallagher and Amy Irving.

The plot development is not quite as we might have anticipated. However, it offers a pleasing story of relationships and challenges as well as giving the audience an opportunity to see and feel a story of a personal condition rather than simply respond to a medical definition.

1.Interest in the characters, themes? Enjoyable? Audiences learning something? Empathy with a person who has difficulties?

2.The style of films dramatising illnesses and conditions? Offering insight, emotional identification, understanding? Applying this film to people with Asperger’s Syndrome?

3.Asperger’s in itself, the description, the symptoms? Affecting the mind, directness in communication, facts, no emotionals, judgment, inability to perceive people’s emotional states? The effect for the person in themselves, for others dealing with them?

4.A New York story, apartments and apartment blocks, the streets, restaurant? The companies? The contrast with Westchester, Beth’s world, the theatre, the courts? The musical score?

5.The title, the basic human being, the man?

6.The introduction to Adam: his awkward manner at the funeral, revelations about his father, dependence, their life and routines? Harlan and his friendship, the bond with his father? In the apartment, the fridge, the same things stocked, the breakfast ritual? His manner, way of speaking? Stilted? Going to work, the arrival, people greeting him? not reading characters well? His understanding, his skills, the toys, interactions with the boss? The clash? His going?

7.Harlan, as a kind character, Vietnam, Adam’s father? Helping Adam understand, giving good advice, going with him to the reading of the will?

8.Beth, in herself, her arrival, ordinary, the teacher, seeing her at school, discussions with the principal about Asperger’s? Her books, the story of the raccoons in Central Park? Meeting Adam, her way of treating him, ordinary? Puzzle, his not carrying her cases, sitting on the step with the computer? Their talk, friendly, the apartment? The invitation, Adam getting ready to go out with Beth, her knocking on the door, his inability to go?

9.Beth and her parents, the meal with her father, talking, the father as pushy? Her previous boyfriends? Expectations? Seeing her at work, at the theatre with her parents? The news of the charges? Adam and his directness, asking the questions? Beth’s mother, nice, the story of her love for her husband? Supporting him? in court, the evidence, his having to confess publicly to the affair? His wife knowing, Beth and her shock, seeing her father as a liar? Adam asking him directly? The father and his understanding of Adam but trying to warn Beth away from him? Beth’s reaction?

10.Adam and the jobs, the papers, the applications? The rehearsal for the interview? Beth taking him out for a meal – and taking the same thing for takeout? The bond between the two? Adam direct in his questions about sex? The relationship, just being together, the relationship, the possibilities?

11.Adam and the lawyer, the issue of the house and his wanting to keep it?

12.Beth and her being upset with him, going away, her apology?

13.Adam, the prospect of the job in California, asking Beth to go, her not being willing? His going, making a decision?

14.The year later, his success at work, the suitability of the job, science, astronomy? His background of astronomy, the stars, the telescope? His coming out of himself slightly? What he had learnt? Not just the facts? His skills?

15.The arrival of the book, his reading it, the story of the raccoons?

16.A glimpse of a man with Asperger’s? Not easy to deal with? Understanding him, the possibility of solutions or not?

Created by: malone last modification: Sunday 15 of November, 2009 [20:59:03 UTC] by malone


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