Hugh Dancy, Rose Byrne, Peter Gallagher, Amy Irving, Frankie Faison / Fiction / English
A love affair with a little difference.
Written and directed by noted New York theatre director and playwright Max Mayer, our Closing Night film puts a thought provoking new spin on the conventional romcom set-up. Outgoing, attractive writer Beth (Rose Byrne) is very keen to know her new neighbours – particularly handsome Adam (Hugh Dancy). But as she attempts to forge a connection, Adam's behaviour begins to puzzle her - why doesn’t he respond to hints or signals, the crucial currency of flirtation? Mayer's delicate script allows the fact of Adam's Asperger's Syndrome to evolve not as a tragic blight on the developing romance, but as a challenge to all Beth's assumptions about what it means to be normal, and what language and gesture can indicate to different individuals. (Adam reads everything literally, as Beth realises when she tries to explain that her ex lover "was seeing other women while we were together..."). Tender but never sentimental, and blessed with an irreverent and subtle sense of humour, Adam also provides its two up-and-coming stars with nuanced and intelligent character roles that bring out their very best work.
#1/ Sunday 28 June, 2009 / 08:52 GMTI really enjoyed this film. The central performance by Hugh Dancy is wonderful and the film is very touching and funny without heading into the realms of cheesy romance. All the actors involved give great performances, and watching Adam cope being thrust into this world on his own is an intriguing experience for the viewer. The film also avoids lecturing the audience on Asperger's and instead allows you to experience each aspect of Adam's life alongside Beth, which I personally enjoyed and found to be a nice touch.
It's a really great way to spend a couple of hours and I'd highly recommend it.
#2 / Sunday 28 June, 2009 / 11:17 GMTFor me, the best thing about this film was the ending, because it avoided any clichéd and formulaic reunion. I don’t know much about aspergers so can’t comment on the accuracy of the portrayal, but I came out feeling that I’d learnt something about the condition, and felt both touched and moved by Hugh Dancy’s depiction. The other lead, Rose Byrne, behaved convincingly as if she was in a relationship with Adam, and highlighted the old dilemma that to differing degrees, we all make our choices in this life in the knowledge that we can’t have it all. For Beth, she would have had the stability and security she craved in a relationship, but the lack of reciprocated empathy proved a bridge too far.
I could see why the father-daughter sub-plot was integral to the story, from a ‘nobody’s perfect’ sense of comparison...although I found myself a little irritated by it, as it detracted from the main themes and took up too much air time. The film has all the ingredients of a commercial success, and I left the cinema thinking ‘tender but unremarkable’. 6/10.
PS As a closing gala virgin, I was a little disappointed by the lack of any 'sense of occasion', in particular the missed opportunity for a Q&A session afterwards. It was good that the Director and Lead Actor made the effort to attend and introduce their work, and a shame that there wasn't the opportunity for them to say a bit more about their film once we'd all seen it.
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