Adam (played by Hugh Dancy) is a twenty-something, intelligent, electrical engineer who is sweet and well-meaning, but not worldly-wise. He is inspired by science and develops technology for children’s toys, but the business side of toy-making is lost on him, so he struggles to create anything economically viable. His father has recently died and left Adam living alone in the New York City apartment they shared. He is very set in his ways and without really grieving for his father, he returns to the routine of his life – just because it is familiar and a comfort to him. Adam’s only friend is Harlan (by Frankie Faison) who has taken on an arms-length guardianship of Adam since the death of his father. One day, Adam meets his new neighbour Beth (by Rose Byrne) who is beautiful and totally opposite to Adam. She is confident, outgoing, sociable and keen to interact with people. Beth is a teacher and aspiring writer of children’s books. She sees that Adam is painfully shy and awkward and kindly makes attempts to be friendly. Beth’s parents (by Amy Irving and Peter Gallager) have their own issues going on, which only complicates things for Beth. After a time, Adam and Beth form a tentative connection and we learn that Beth is recovering from an upsetting relationship (so she struggles with “trust issues”.) and Adam suffers from Asperger’s Disorder, which explains his unusual demeanour, but which warms Beth to him. Their friendship is tentative and slowly develops, so challenges arise for them both. With the issues they both have, will they be able to make a relationship work? .
This movie is fascinating. Despite his difficulties, Adam has made his way in the world and he is marvellously portrayed by Hugh Dancy. Adam and Beth’s developing relationship is refreshing to watch – due to his disorder, Adam is unable to detect nuances in personality, intuition or emotions – which means that Beth must learn to be direct and clear in her actions and language (it makes a refreshing change for two people in a relationship!). They are very nice together. Harlan is a very authentic and caring man and Frankie Faison seems to fit right into Harlan’s skin. It is a nice movie – and perhaps doesn’t quite go the way that you expect.
Made in 2009. Directed by Max Mayer