Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Movie Review: Adam

I like romantic comedies and I think it's to fill this empty hole inside me in which no man has occupied for the last couple of years. There had been vague interests in and from different individuals but none had been able to engage the full capacity in which I know it is capable of.

I look for signs which I know if they should never appear, indicate a possible failure right from the start. Number one, the quickening of the pulse. Two, the unbearable ache of thinking about the person. Three, clutching onto the cellphone with trepidation of missing messages and calls. Time after time, the pulse ceased to quicken, the thoughts diffused and then, it's time to wait for another. I never lost hope completely though and I think it's the romantic comedies and the novels that helped me to pull through the darkest hours, keeping Loneliness at bay.

It was Hugh Dancy who caught my attention and retained it long enough to read the catch phrase of 'Adam'. Even though his appearance in Confessions of a Shopaholic was airy but I maintain that the fault is, in no way, Mister Dancy's. There was no room to portray any depth in Luke Brandon's character because no offense to Sophie Kinsella, there is none. Luke Brandon in Confessions of a Shopaholic was a necessary prop as the knight in shining armour to save the spendthrift damsel in financial distress, Rebecca Bloomwood. So 'Adam' is a story about 2 strangers. One a little stranger than the other. Most of my friends know that I have an affinity for strange. I have attracted some strange men in life. I have been called odd and weird occasionally but non-offensively. I never saw being called strange, odd, queer, weird as insults or something personal. These terms only serve to emphasize differences and a lack of reconciliation with the usual and may I add, boring social norms. Stranger beings often found ways to surprise me, exasperate me and invoke more emotions than my regular amused tolerance bordering on condescension for predictable bores.

It was apparent that Adam, the protagonist in the movie had no way to discern subtle hints. He takes conversations at face value very explicitly and displays social ineptitude at every turn. He is aware of it but doesn't see any wrong in it. We saw him stocking his fridge with the same type of food: macaroni & cheese and a display of a neatly organized wardrobe and we didn't know why. Events in the movie would reveal gradually that his orderliness is not a genetic or acquired trait but a sustenance of a comfortable continuity he knows. Brutal honesty is not an indulgence of his but a way of life. He exercises no tact during conversations because he doesn't feel that there is a need to. In his view, if you don't know something, you ask questions and you'll question to the void to get an answer.

Adam's way of life has a name "Asperger Syndrome" which is a form of autism. People with Asperger display intense interests in certain subjects and for Adam, it is astronomy. He goes into an overdrive when talking about his favourite subject, not knowing when to stop because he does not know that his recipients are not interested. Adam does not adopt well to change. When his routine motion is rudely interrupted, he loses control.

No coy, no lies and in a literal way, we can say that Adam is born to be honest.

Quite out of the blue back in the apartment the next day after their midnight traipse to Central Park, Adam asked Beth if she feels sexually excited watching the raccoons because he did. Don't worry about going "Whaaat the fuck" mentally because I did too. I guess he had to do or speak something odd with Beth in order to bring his syndrome to light.

Yet Adam could be impossibly sweet, bringing his neighbour Beth to Central Park to watch raccoons at midnight, leaving a mug of coffee at her doorstep just because he knew she stayed past her bedtime, the willingness to allow her time to nurse her broken heart indulging in her crap talk of kisses and hugs but no sex and taking a sudden initiative to kiss her.

As with feel-good movies, a life-changing experience must occur. He upped himself and moved to California where he was offered a job with an observatory. We see him starting to accept social engagements and even offering to help with parcels which is an indication of improvement.

Hugh Dancy as Adam was credible. This is a pleasing role in which where his character lacks in social empathy, he draws it from his audience. The engagement of structured mannerisms and monotonous drones alluded a mechanism of thoughts, inferring on emotions. Then again, Hugh Dancy is such a pretty man that I am almost willing to believe anything he is acting. To digress a little, I'm glad it was Claire Danes he married because it could have been any of those simpering, insipid socialites or actresses but he got lucky. Rose Byrne on the other hand, is the kindly neighbour, Beth, who draws Adam out of his self-imposed exile, slowly but surely. She is a childcare teacher but aspires to write children books. Pairing with Hugh, I feel a little lack of chemistry, not the cosy warm couple I'll like them to be but maybe I live for warm and fuzzy. If you are looking to curl yourself into a little ball in your home and dream a little about love, Adam is a viable watch.

Adam, his mother, and his father were a family of talking raccoons that lived in the middle of New York City. They didn't really belong there, but there they were.

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