A Review of “Adam”

Faithful readers of Deeper Waters know that when I go to a movie, I always write a review of it. Last night, I went to see the movie “Adam.” I’ve found when telling this to people that most of them don’t know about the movie at all. That is a shame and I do not know entirely why this movie wasn’t put in most theaters like others are. Maybe someone in the movie industry can explain that. The synopsis at imdb.com describes the movie this way:

Soon after moving in, Beth, a brainy, beautiful writer damaged from a past relationship encounters Adam, the handsome, but odd, fellow in the downstairs apartment whose awkwardness is perplexing. Beth and Adam’s ultimate connection leads to a tricky relationship that exemplifies something universal: truly reaching another person means bravely stretching into uncomfortable territory and the resulting shake-up can be liberating.

Upon hearing that, some readers might recall how during the presidential election, I chose to write about my story:


Naturally, Adam is the kind of movie I would want to see. I will also be warning my readers now that I am going to be giving spoilers so if you don’t want that, then come back and read this blog later. If you want to see where Adam is playing in your area, go to foxsearchlight.com

Adam is one of a kind, which is something that must be understood when interacting with those of us in the autistic community. When you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism, and you cannot extrapolate on to everyone. I happened to see this movie with a friend and I was able to notice many things that he did not which we discussed on our way back.

Adam is unaware of social cues around him. In fact, I was astounded at some of the things he did that I know I normally don’t do, like walking into the office in the morning and saying “good morning” to someone who says that to him. This is the kind of place where I become non-responsive. If I don’t greet someone, it’s not because of something personal.

Adam is also crazy about space. He loves to talk about it. We find him several times in the movie at his laptop looking up information on anything and if he gets into any conversation with anyone on that topic, stand back, he’s going to go into overdrive. I could find my own relation here as I can be normally quiet, but start me up about philosophy or apologetics or Christianity and I’m on fire. My roommate once spoke about how I was when we had Mormons visiting us and the doctrine of the Trinity came up and it was described as watching a rocket taking off.

At the start, Adam’s pantry has several boxes of the same food selection. I clicked with that immediately as that is also a common trait, something I was very pleased to find out the more I studied this as some who know me know I am incredibly unusual in my diet. Our church, for instance, had a picnic today after the service. My response? Get in the car. Go home. Do the dishes there and fix myself a small lunch at home. It’s just not a pleasant situation and my closest friends with me know that there’s only a small number of restaurants I will order something from.

Adam’s world is changed by a girl named Beth who comes to see him. He doesn’t really know too much how to respond to her and his Dad’s old friend Harlan who is his caretaker in this film as both of Adam’s parents are dead tell him he has to be the man. There are numerous times in the movie Adam interprets something Beth says in a way she doesn’t intend. The results are quite humorous.

One scene at the start has him sitting on the steps of his apartment building on his laptop while Beth comes and is carrying behind her on a rolling device some groceries and says something like “Well, I’m off to carry these heavy items up to my apartment.” Adam misses the cue entirely of the implicit message of “Are you going to help me?”

Beth decides she wants to try to break into his world however and offers to invite him out to join some friends that evening. She says she’ll knock on his door at 8. We see Adam then in the apartment and the clock says 8:11 and he’s all dressed up and ready to go. She hasn’t knocked yet. She does soon however, but Adam never opens the door and he’s crying inside later on. The next day, he tells her he was overwhelmed with something and just couldn’t come.

This was something I understood entirely. The problem was that she had said she would knock on his door at 8 and she didn’t. That threw Adam off entirely. I’ve been told at work that I’m the most exact person with the time clock. If I am to clock in at 8:30, well that is when I will clock in, even looking at my watch to make sure I’m down to the second.

One day, Adam shows her a planetarium of sorts he has in his apartment. What it was entirely, I’m not sure, but I’m thinking that he had computer generation set up in the room all around the ceiling somehow and he just talks to her about space. His friend Harlan is stunned that he did this and even more stunned that Beth likes it.

Adam slips up the next time Beth comes over and asks about the event and says “Were you sexually excited?” Now I consider myself blunt, but I’m thankful I’m not that blunt. When Beth decides she needs to leave then, Adam confesses to her his condition of Asperger’s and how it affects him.

The next day, Beth, at her job as a schoolteacher, asks another teacher about Asperger’s and is told about the book “Pretending To Be Normal” which I thought immediately was a great title. She asks if someone like that is prime relationship material. At this point, she seems to think he isn’t, but seems to change her mind.

Adam gets fired also from his job at a toy company. As he’s grieving from this, he takes Beth to Central Park, as the story is set in New York, and doesn’t tell her why. As he sits on a bench with her standing nearby, two raccoons start passing through the area in front of them leaving Beth amazed. She gives him a book for people with Asperger’s on how to find a job. At this, he kisses her. She doesn’t mind.

I noticed something about the raccoons and asked my friend on the way back if he knew why raccoons were used. He didn’t. So I asked him to tell me what he knew about raccoons. He said “They wear masks.” I didn’t let him go any further. That was all that needed to be said. Adam and the raccoons are similar. Both of them wear masks.

The kiss has changed their relationship and Beth decides she needs to set some boundaries and says she’s fine with kissing and with hugging but no sex. It’s amusing when she tells Adam that her last ex was sleeping with other women while they were together. Then seeing his confusion says “I mean, while we were in a relationship.”

Adam is taken to a party by Beth where nearly every social cue is broken. A mother begins talking about her baby and says “Would you like to see a video?” Adam says “No thank you. Where’s the restroom?” He starts talking to another lady there about the purchase of a telescope and doesn’t realize he’s boring her and is going over her head and she doesn’t know how to get away. Fortunately, Beth is there to help him out.

Later on, Beth and Adam are discussing various matters and Beth is talking about how she’d like to write a book about raccoons for children and she wants it to be talking raccoons. Adam asks why. Why not just have it be about nature. Wouldn’t that be better? She tells him that he’d think so. Adam is offended, until Beth just lets him know what she really means and how she feels about him, which is when she turns their relationship sexual. For those concerned, there is nothing seen here at this point in the movie in the area of nudity. It was quite clean in this regards.

Of course, there is that problem that in movies, sex in a relationship is just seen as the next level. There are not any consequences. If you’re wondering the moral perspective, Beth seems to be more Christian in some way in that when Adam asks her about the Big Bang, she starts quoting Genesis 1:1. Adam simply starts going on at that about the Big Bang. She also tells her father that the rules he has for her in her relationships aren’t written in Scripture. Unfortunately, religious views aren’t expounded on this much.

Beth then takes Adam to a play and her parents happen to be there where they get to meet for the first time. Beth has beforehand found out that her father has been indicted on for something he’s done. What his job is, I don’t recall entirely, but his family is very well provided for. When she and Adam and her parents get together with just them to talk, Adam asks “Did you do it?” and “Could you go to jail?”

Beth doesn’t appreciate the questions later and tells him so. This is a part I still don’t understand as my thinking is “Those seem like perfectly legitimate questions. You want the information? You ask for it.” Rest assured, Beth does apologize after this first fight.

Beth also is teaching her class in the movie of probably Elementary school children and reading the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes. Once again, this is a story meant to remind the reader of the nature of Asperger’s. The boy in the story is the one who is blunt and points out that the emperor is naked. Important since Beth ends saying “I like the boy.”

Adam is meanwhile applying for new jobs and finds one he applies for and hears back that’d involve research on space. Beth offers to help him train for this with learning such features as eye contact, which is something I recognized immediately.

There are many times I talk to people and I realize that I am not looking at them as I talk to them. I seem to have my eyes fixated on some other point. What’s there? Well nothing that deserves my attention at that point, but that is where they are. Beth is a good teacher helping Adam learn how to socialize.

Adam needs the job after all as he doesn’t want to move. This comes to the forefront in a scene discussing his father’s estate and how he’ll have to move since he can’t pay the mortgage and he goes into a tantrum saying he doesn’t want to move. Harlan is the one who calms him down again.

What happens the day of the interview we don’t know immediately, but around that time Beth’s mother calls Adam and asks if she can track down her Beth. Her father has been found guilty. Later on, we learn he had an affair with someone involved in what he’s indicted of. Once again, this is the mask motif playing. Beth’s Dad does not have Asperger’s, but he had been wearing a mask.

Adam begins looking through and finds a note Beth had about “Take Adam to meet parents” which referred to the past event. Beth comes in then and sees Adam upset and when she confesses she just told him a little lie, he explodes, throws things around the room, and yells at Beth on how much he hates her and her Dad is guilty and he hopes she stays in jail. Beth uses some profanity (The strongest in the movie and nothing I will dare repeat here) and tells him he’s a child and leaves.

Always be honest to people with Asperger’s. (Actually, being honest with people generally is a good idea.) Not all of us react like Adam of course, but there is something lost. Many of us are often just looking for people we can trust. That could be something common for everyone, but maybe just harder for us.

When Beth’s Dad is charged and given his sentence, he is told he has ten days to put his affairs in order. Beth’s Mom calls Adam and tells him the address of the house which is where Beth will be. It’s a snowy time, but Adam knows that now he has to make things up to Beth so he gets some champagne and some roses and sets out in the snow. He can’t get to the terminal for the bus because of the stairs and he can’t take a taxi and he can’t drive, so what does he do? He walks the whole way.

Meanwhile, we see Beth at the house talking to her Dad and how her Dad says that Adam is not relationship material. He is in another world. Beth insists that people with Asperger’s do marry and have families and children, but her father is saying no. Shortly after this Beth hears Adam outside yelling trying to find her. Beth rushes outside and her Dad prepares to head out saying “I’ll take care of him.”

Adam tells Beth he didn’t get the job he wanted, but was told he’d be perfect for a job in California in an observatory. He tells Beth he wants her to come with him. Beth’s Dad comes out and says that Beth will not go with him. Beth is furious telling her Dad he can’t dare speak for her. An argument breaks out and Beth’s Dad grabs her which leads to Adam tackling her Dad and knocking him to the ground. When the mother comes out, Beth yells out that she’s going away with Adam to California and they drive off in Beth’s car together.

Beth later talks to her mother on the phone before the leave and says that Adam has never said he loves her. Adam hears this and tells her and then she asks why he wants her to come to California. Adam gives an answer of how he needs her to help him find a place to live, get settled in, fit in, and that she’s like a part of him now. When she hears this, Beth has to disappoint him and says she can’t go with him to California.

When I first saw this, I thought it was a sad point. Thinking back on it now, I think it was sad still, but also a good move on her part.

He is speaking at an observatory to a group of visitors about the telescope and what all can be seen and then says “But one of the best ways might be going out at night and looking up at the sky yourself.” After they leave, a lady comes carrying two heavy boxes, one on top of the other, with a small package on top telling Adam that that one is for him. Adam takes it and then says “Would you like some help with those Carol?” She smiles and says yes.

Adam has moved forward. He didn’t catch Beth’s cue at the beginning, but now he has, and apparently with another lady. I take this as a cue to Adam having a blossoming romance going on in California.

Adam opens up the package later on and finds a book in it from Beth called “Adam.” It’s a book about a family of raccoons in New York City. One was named Adam. He lived in Central Park. Although he didn’t really belong in that world, there he was. Adam closes the book and smiles.

My thoughts on this movie? I think it’s a very good one. It helps bring out the world of those of us with this condition. I have a caution that people keep in mind that if you go see Adam, that not everyone you meet with this is like Adam. Some are more outgoing. Some are not. Adam is actually more capable than many as some need constant care throughout their lives.

I think it would do a world of good to go see this one however and come to understand this world that more and more people by genetics are experiencing everyday. Is that person you meet not speaking to you? Don’t assume right off they’re rude, which is something that has happened to me often. Consider that they might be different.

Realize also there is a reason why we do the things we do. I’m very finicky about my hands for instance and don’t like anything on them. One time we had the Mormons up here and we were having friendly talk about little idiosyncracies on how my roommate and I take care of this place. I said I don’t replace the lid on the trash can because I don’t like touching a trash can lid. I want to wash my hands afterwards. Since then, our lid has remained perpetually off. We just dump everything directly. Now I do take out the trash at times, but always with washing my hands immediately afterwards.

The movie also stated that we’re frequently described as people with no imagination. I find that bizarre. If anything, I have an overactive imagination as my mind is always conjuring up strange scenarios and such. This does allow me to experience much wonder in life as I find it easier to see everyday as an adventure as a result of this condition.

Is the social interaction difficult? Of course. This is why I’m thankful for friends in my life who are my support. For instance, tonight is Sunday and I go bowling every Sunday night. I go with some friends here and their family has kind of taken me in as a third son it seems at times and their support is something excellent to have and I’m really grateful for it.

And now the final conclusion. Go see Adam if you haven’t. Of course, now you know everything that will happen pretty much if you’ve read this, but go see it anyway. Seeing it can be more revealing than hearing about it. If you have small children, you might want to go see it without them first. I’d say anyone of Junior High age could probably watch this film, but parents need to discuss certain matters afterwards.

And yes, I do plan to buy this when it comes on DVD.

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