The Movie, ‘Adam’
After a day to digest the movie, I’ve decided to write a review of it. This is my point of view of the movie. It also has a great deal of spoilers in it. I would recommend only reading if you have seen it or you don’t mind spoilers.
The opening of the movie automatically grabbed me as someone who lost her father only two years ago. From there, the movie degraded into stereotypes of Asperger’s that I cannot see happening to any one person. Adam was an electrical engineer who worked for a company that made toys. While he was excellent at what he did, he took things a little too far, and ended up during the course of the movie being fired. IE, he was creating toys that were not within the price range of the company, and therefore was not making the company money. He ate the same food each day for breakfast, lunch and supper.
He had one friend who was more his caretaker and was a long time friend of his father’s. He spent lunches with Adam, and helped him settling the estate, and was generally a compass. Adam, after his father passed, went from having everything stocked and organized to having no food in the pantry and fridge and needing to do laundry because he had nothing to wear. Doing laundry is where he met Beth, his neighbor.
From there, they went further into stereotyping by showing that an Aspie would not help someone struggling. (Which the NTs in the audience laughed at, while I found it degrading.) They then showed how he degraded into a ball of nerves when things did not happen as he had expected. (I know what that feels like and cried my eyes out.) The next few scenes were a mix of very simple, almost child-like approaches to attraction and affection. Then was his announcement about being an Aspie, and how he perceives things differently than NTs. (He actually used the term NTs, neurotypicals in the movie. I rather hope I don’t sound like he did when he used the words. I had never seen it being so ambiguous as the actor portrayed it.)
Then it went to her studying about AS, and another few cute, child-like, innocent scenes. Him not understanding what she meant when she said she didn’t feel like company. Taking her out to a closed Central Park. Showing her raccoons and stating the line “They don’t really belong here, but here they are.” (This is significant for the last of the movie.) They seemed to me more typical of a relationship between two middle schoolers, or high schoolers, than that of a relationship between two late-20′s, early 30′s.
I immediately disliked Beth’s dad and ended up correct in my feelings toward him. (I wonder how much of this was evident to the NT viewers. Or if they just saw Adam as uncaring for his approach towards her father.) I disliked, but still appreciated, Beth pushing Adam out of his comfort zone. While I think she did the right things once she got him there, I think she could have been a little more sensitive. But these are issues I had with the character which was really nicely portrayed. I know that I’ve had the same thing happen to me so guess I relived those moments.
Then Adam became even more stereotypical. He showed an outburst of anger, which were not characteristic of him.. Showed him in a very awkward repeating the poses by Beth.. Which at first I didn’t understand that she was upset.. Then she started crying and visibly crying and rather than comfort her, he just went on repeating her. It was awkward and seemed very unrealistic of other moments in the movie where he showed his own feelings and showed that he understood her feelings. While they did show his perservations, I find it hard to believe that by the time someone is 29 with Asperger’s, they wouldn’t have figured out how to dumb it down. Perhaps that’s me putting myself into the character too much, but somewhere along the line, I figured out that most people are not as intelligent as I am.. And he would have had to live an EXTREMELY sheltered life, even in college, to have not noticed that there are just some people that will never “get it.”
In the end, when he and Beth are getting ready to move to California, and she asks him, “Why?” He wouldn’t have said what he did.. He would have either been unable to answer, not because of lack of understanding the question, but being unable to quantify it.. Or he would have just said the line “You are a part of me…” and reiterated the “I love you.” Or he would have just said the line, “Because you can help me find a place to live, and how to get around and get to work.”.. He wouldn’t have been unable to quantify it, said the expressions of love AND given the logical answer.. I don’t know any one person that would have come up with all three of those responses within that time matter.
Also, I think that the last part was inaccurate. He figured out how to get to her parent’s house in the suburbs. Went through all the process to get there. He understood that he needed to tell her he does love her.. I also think it was quite clear that both of them did share moments where they knew what each other was thinking. There is just no logical reason that he needed to go from “I love you..” “You are a part of me..” to “I need help with daily living skills.”
I did appreciate that they showed him deciding not to go to CA, then reversing that decision because of his love of Astronomy. Then it degraded again into him not understanding what his friend was saying with the “I’m trying to thank you.” Though, I had no clue what he was talking about at first as well.. But then when he said that she was as stubborn as he was, it clicked. But still, there’s no reason that Adam couldn’t have just said “You’re welcome.”
Then showing how in just a years time he went from being totally socially inept, to understanding by himself, that he was droning on. It didn’t seem accurate. Like, that one moment of deciding he had to leave for his life… changed how he perceived the world? Or that the last month with Beth showed him appropriate life skills? I didn’t get it..
The ending would have been fine with me if not for the audience. I felt that the ending was bittersweet, and identified the character as having a bittersweet feeling. Where as the rest of the audience left laughing. I was crying my eyes out and everyone around me was laughing. It didn’t seem right to me that just because he smiled they felt he felt good about what had happened. I thought it was more what we are told are “inappropriate” responses to our inner feelings. He had the same smile at the first of the movie after his father’s funeral was over.. The same smile when he was given his severance check… There is no reason to think that that smile meant happiness.
Okay.. Sorry to end it angry. But that was my feelings on the film. They created an inaccurate AS man, IMO. They created someone that cannot possibly exist. While all these things can happen from person to person with AS, there is just no way that one person would possess ALL of the characteristics.