Lead actors talk about the movie Adam.
Last night, my boyfriend Max and I watched the movie Adam, the love story about an aspie and an neurotypical woman. I had seen it before, and I was much more impressed with it on a second viewing. It's very much a movie, with Aspergers as the major obstacle. Hugh Dancy gives a wonderfully sweet and subtle performance in the title role, and Rose Byrne from Damages is just as good as Beth, the slightly spoiled young woman who cannot help loving him.
I could tell that Max was having an extremely intense experience-- he sometimes seemed to be crying, which very usual for him during a movie. It's embarrassing that I didn't think until we talked about the movie afterwards that his reaction was about me. But it was. Of course it was.
In the film, Beth's parents contrive to meet their daughter's new beau at an off-Broadway theater. The first time I saw it the scene humiliated me because Adam sounded so exactly like I would. Max pointed out that I had had a minor meltdown this weekend that was incredibly similar to the one Adam has later on: "Ha ha ha ha. Fooled you! Dumb Landon!" I didn't say those words, but Max was right: that was exactly how I felt.
I wish I were as handsome and charming as Hugh Dancy, but I do not want to be like Adam. And I am, and I have to make the best of it. Damn. I wish I were an actor and this life were a movie and it would end and I would get to play a better part. Or just get to go home at the end of the day. One of the reasons I love movies and TV so much is that they provide me the only opportunities I have to be in a room that doesn't have someone autistic in it.
Adam messes up that experience. It's exciting, it's empowering, but it hurts. I want to see people like me on the screen. I do not want other people to cry because I remind them so much of them. I feel, and I know this will offend some of you but it is the only word that fits, retarded.
Max is good to me. He said that watching the movie made him feel that sometimes he has been unkind and that he has blamed me for things that he should not have. He said he understood better why I need to hold on to him physically so much, even when it is so hot that it is uncomfortable. It is good that we watched it. But it hurt.
Most of Max's friends do not like me and some of them have been as unkind as Beth's parents are in the film. It makes me feel awful.
I feel awful today. Even my cat is too intrusive-- the good one! I want to be someplace entirely entirely alone. But also with Max. And with you.
You have your own despair to deal with.
I'll be fine.
But this is what's like to be me today.
Yes, people with Asperger's syndrome fall in love, and no, it isn't like the movies. But we deserve to see movies that show people like us, in situations as real and as unreal as the one ones that neurotypical people get to see every day. Neither one of these love stories about people with AS is perfect, but I enjoyed and saw myself in them both.
Adam is the easier to watch of the two, a "meet-cute" fantasy about a young man with Aspergers who watches his world crumble after his father's death, but finds love with a beautiful NT woman. High Dancy and Rose Byrne are compelling and gorgeous as the lovers, who find obstacles both in his AS and and in her immaturity. I cared very much about Adam, and this movie made me remember both happy and sad situations in my own life in a way that was overwhelming at points.
Mozart and the Whale is based on a true story, but it's not necessarily more realistic. Josh Hartnett and Radha Mitchell both play people with Aspergers, and give performances that are both effective and cringe-inducing. This is a story in which autism is a much more substantial obstacle, and I both appreciated that and was embarrassed by some of the characters' behavior. I actually had to stop watching in the middle of this movie and return to it later because some of the emotions it brought up for me were very intense. But ultimately, I did enjoy it, and I would recommend it, too.
Erica Loughlin interviews her 18-year-old brother Andrew, who has Aspergers. They talk about the movie Adam and how unrealistic Andrew found the film's portrayal of Asperger's Syndrome. I think he's a little rough on the movie, but it's an insightful video.
Movies, by their nature, simplify things and make internal things visible. This can make them very useful when coming to an initial understanding of something as complex as Aspergers, even though they can also paint a false picture. There aren't very many movies about people with autism, but these are two that I recommend very highly