Film Review: Adam

Posted in Film, Reviews
By Sam Bathe on 3 Aug 2009


After starring opposite Isla Fisher in Confessions Of A Shopoholic, you’d be forgiven to worry whether Hugh Dancy was about to throw away his serious acting career to spend the rest of his days as the charming male romantic lead in countless chick-flicks, as so many other exciting talents have done. But filmed way back in late 2005, Adam was the trump card in Dancy’s back pocked, just waiting for a distributor to unveil. Praised across the board after its premiere at this year’s Sundance, there were early fears Adam would struggle to find a backer but soon enough Fox Searchlight stepped into the breach meaning over 4 years since work began on the film, it’s at last making it into theatres.

About titular character Adam (Dancy), writer-director Max Mayer’s first film in ten years explores his day to day life living with the socially restrictive Asperger’s syndrome. Adam finds it difficult to integrate into society and in particular, understand and communicate with individuals, but that all starts to change when Beth (Byrne) moves into his apartment block. Adam seeking to dispel his loneliness and Beth intrigued by Adam’s passion and good nature, the pair form an unlikely bond before twists and turns lead the relationship down a path you wouldn’t necessarily expect.

Given Dancy’s last outing you might expect you might expect Adam to fall down the traditional plotlines but this is more of a rom-heartbreaker than a rom-com. The plot attempts to move away from the stereotypes that are blighting often promising romantic movies, and certainly pays dividends as the closing credits roll.

The film’s major strongpoint though, is undoubtedly the performance by Hugh Dancy. In a breathtaking turn as the troubled but ever hopefully Adam, Dancy really proves his credentials, portraying the struggles and frustrations of his socially restricted character with great confidence and even greater believability. Hopefully this is the film to really push Dancy onto more high profile and challenging work.

Rose Byrne also must not be forgotten and she gives an equally adept performance ensuring the film isn’t too one-note and develops her character Beth’s compromises to having a relationship with Adam.

Though Adam isn’t always an easy watch, such would always be the case when exploring a social disorder, it is a sweet, honest and charming film that manages to create a real pull for both Adam and Beth. Adam’s affliction isn’t used as a gimmick, and though some of his actions will draw laughs, it is merely because of his enthusiasm and he’s always in on the joke, there’s never a laugh at the disorder, only with him on-side.

Another thoroughly engaging release from Fox Searchlight, the studio’s indie releasing sidearm is rapidly becoming the saviour of an otherwise grossly mismanaged company. Adam is a film that will win over your heart and open your eyes to living a life with Asperger’s and the acting talents of Hugh Dancy.


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