Asperger’s Rom-Com

Well, this is interesting:

Gabe at Videogum seems pretty viscerally offended by this, and thinks it’s just a cynical way to add a twist to a standard romantic comedy plot line. Which is true, and I’m sure that’s why Fox Searchlight gave it the go-ahead.

But I can’t help but think the impact will be positive. After all, even the short trailer paints a much more benign picture of Asperger’s than most other cultural forces. Adam is socially awkward, yes, but he’s also incredibly knowledgeable about astronomy and ultimately decent, and the latter two aspects of the syndrome are (a) never emphasized in popular media and (b) probably going to be the crux of the film, if the standard romantic comedy formula holds. And while we can debate the usefulness of speculating about historical figures on the spectrum, most people haven’t even heard that there are solid cases made by serious scholars that Jefferson, Einstein, and Mozart (and Newton and Wittgenstein and Turing and Cavendish) had Asperger’s or some other level of autism.

I’ll reserve full judgment until I see the movie, but I’m cautiously optimistic that viewers will leave the theater thinking “Asperger’s can be a blessing, not a curse” instead of “people with Asperger’s are really weird.”

P.S. Also, I’d be remiss in not mentioning that Ervin Burrell is in this, which automatically raises its stock in my book.

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