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A Romance About Growing Up

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Adam, despite its flaws, is a charming romantic film about a man with Aspergerís Syndrome and a woman with family troubles, both at a crossroads. Seemingly normal, Adam (Hugh Dancy) appears to be just a tad off, especially when he rattles on about space to anyone who will listen. But, there arenít many who will listen and following his fatherís death, heís left alone in a large New York City apartment.

The feeling of such a large apartment in such a dense city feeds the feeling of isolation and anxiety as Adam, nearly 30, attempts for the first time to cope with life on his own. Then Beth (Rose Byrne) moves into his building, seeing not a man trapped inside an affliction, but a handsome and interesting man sheíd like to get to know.

Writer/Director Max Mayer constructs a film that is full of euphoric undertones and despite Adamís diagnosis, creates a character that is easily identifiable. He has no friends, save for his fatherís war buddy Harlan (Frankie Faison), and his only contact with the outside world is through his job as an electrical engineer at a toy company. While heís good at his job, his syndrome makes it tough to fully understand how business works. He canít understand the difference between growth and innovation -- sometimes the two donít come hand in hand. But his boss understands that Adam has a bit of trouble when it comes to human relationships which, ultimately, characterizes Adam as different. But when he meets Beth, she only sees a very shy and awkward man. Following a strange and rocky start, he starts to gravitate towards her and their relationship blossoms.

Beth isnít free of troubles either, however. Her father Marty (played by Peter Gallagher as a man you know you should hate but canít) is on trial for embezzlement. Declaring his innocence, it begins to wear on her conscience. She finds solace in her relationship with Adam and as a teacher, and she seems to thrive on helping him assimilate to everyday life. There, it seems, is the largest quandary for Adam and the film.

Can Adam and his Aspergerís really be separated? Mayer appears to think that they can, in a sense. Adam, like Seth Rogenís man-child in Knocked Up, is just another man caught in a perpetual state of adolescence. While Mayer, Dancy and Byrne create a truly astounding, atmospheric film, itís difficult to know how much the audience should separate Adam, the man, from his Aspergerís.