First there was Adam and Eve... which just goes to show that most relationships are anything but a fairy tale. We can't blame Eve for accepting the apple and we can't blame Adam for offering the apple. Love is a complex business and this romantic notion is the focus of Adam. Not the semi-naked guy from the garden of Eden, the guy in the astronaut suit... would've been a knight in shining armour, but to say he likes astronomy would be an understatement.
Adam has Asperger's Syndrome, a condition that has become popularised in shows like Boston Legal with characters like Jerry Espenson played by Christian Clemenson. The syndrome is closely related to autism, and since we're in the movie world, like Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. Adam isn't a film specifically designed to create awareness of Asperger's Syndrome, but one that resonates with almost any difficult relationship.
In this romantic dramedy, Adam meets Beth, an upstairs neighbour and the two become tangled up in a relationship. Beth is hesitant at first, dating someone with Asperger's, but Adam's intellect, charm and socially inept manner attract her to the guy. It's a tender, intimate love story that clashes with Beth's family as her father (Gallagher) is alienated from the Buchwald clan in a court matter.
Director-writer, Max Mayer has a sensitive approach that allows plenty of room for natural conflict to arise. The casting is good and Hugh Dancy (Jane Austen Book Club, Evening) and Rose Byrne (I Capture the Castle, Wicker Park) look good together. Dancy's performance shows great insight into the syndrome and there's a Wendy/Peter Pan dynamic at play between Adam and Beth. Adam's condition of being just outside of reality (Neverland) and coming through Beth's window in an astronaut suit echo this sentiment.
Adam is a special movie that shows a care and understanding of its content, without stereotyping or belittling or trying to adhere to any Hollywood conventions. The realistic portrayals, down-to-earth scenarios and cold bite of New York air gives the romance a Wintery charm, lofted by good performances from its leads.
Adam's not relegated to the sidewalk for having Asperger's, but confronts the condition head-on by accepting that society's social boundaries are almost inflexible and words can't just be taken literally. While it's sweet and the performances are entertaining, the story isn't compelling or inspiring enough to be anything more than a tender slice of life.
The bottom line: Sweet.