RSS
'Adam' and Asperger syndrome
How the mentally challenged are portrayed in this new romantic comedy
A

dam would be just another "story about the challenges of making a romantic relationship work," said Claudia Puig in USA Today, if the film's lead male character didn't have Asperger syndrome. Hugh Dancy portrays Adam as "not disabled" nor "merely eccentric," but instead as "disarmingly, sometimes off-puttingly, honest." And director Max Mayer handles the symptoms and limitations of the syndrome with sensitivity and intelligence," leaving the viewer "with a sense of hope, leavened by realism." (watch the trailer for Adam)

"Asperger sufferers can have an exceedingly difficult time integrating into normal life," said Matt Noller in Slant Magazine, "and Adam, to its credit, clearly wants to evoke this difficulty." But this "lazy screenplay stacks its deck to an absurd degree"—almost every character "is either absurdly cruel to or dismissive of Adam," and "Mayer too often treats Adam's frayed social skills as a source of gentle humor."

Most films about mentally challenged people are "excruciating to watch," said Jessica Baxter in Film Threat, and Adam is no exception. It doesn't even "come close to accurately depicting what it's like to live with mental challenges," and this is clearly an Oscar-baiting role for Hugh Dancy. Adam is another Forest Gump wannabe—"the Hallmark crowd will eat it up," but "I'm not buying it."

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week