First Hit: Well acted and a truly wonderful little film with a beautiful story of love and growth.
Asperger’s syndrome is a major player in this film as we, along with Beth (played by Rose Byrne), get to learn what it’s about and how to understand someone who has it.
Briefly; people affected have difficulty in social situations, have little empathy for another, may not know what a joke is because everything is taken literally, likes routines in everything and is preoccupied with a few very specific interests.
This is a key element in this film and the filmmakers create direct and real events to share this information with the audience. Hugh Dancy plays Adam a young man in his early 20’s who is an electrical engineer and has Aspergers syndrome.
At the beginning of the film we see him at his father’s funeral and, as Adam goes back to his now empty apartment, we see him simply going about his life. A young girl named Beth moves in upstairs and she is direct letting Adam know she would like to know more about him.
Adam, doesn’t get the hint very well, but as they speak and get to know each other a little better, Adam becomes more bold. At one point, Adam openly and naively states he was sexually aroused. Here is the moment the filmmakers use to begin the explanation of Asperger’s syndrome.
As Beth learns more she continues to be intrigued by this very real, almost childlike man, who enjoys her company. As their relationship develops, her father Marty (played by Peter Gallagher) tries to dissuade her from Adam because he is not good enough for her.
However Marty’s got problems of his own and there is some wonderful spot on acting by Amy Irving as Marty’s wife Rebecca as these problems come to light. As Adam and Beth's relationship grows and contracts, both of them learn about their life and what it takes to move forward. I thought then end scene was particularly heartwarming.
Hugh Dancy was spectacular as Adam. Not once did I not believe he was the character as he pushed the boundaries of Adam’s limitations. Byrne was sweet and complex enough to make Beth a critical and strong proponent of Adam’s evolution. Frankie Faison as Harlan, Adam’s dad and Adam’s friend, was beautifully strong, sincere as he guided Adam in some of his difficult steps. Irving was joyous to see on the screen again and in her brief appearances delivered critical comments and looks which spoke realms into the dynamics of love. Max Mayer both wrote and directed this wonderful film with empathy, kindness and mindfulness.
Overall: A truly wonderful film from beginning to end mostly because of Dancy’s acting and the cast’s commitment to make this film honest.