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.”
Well, the movie has been in limited release for a few weeks now, and is opening wide today. I have a review up at the Prospect and, suffice it so say, I was disappointed:
For all his attention to detail, [writer-director Max] Mayer completely missed this larger, and more dangerous misrepresentation of Asperger’s. Even a performance as nuanced as [Hugh] Dancy’s and a script as careful as Mayer’s cannot prevent the film from delivering a blunt message: Asperger’s may not be all bad, but those with it are certainly not worth dating. Our social awkwardness, it suggests, is not a legitimate difference but an insurmountable obstacle to intimacy. Our occasional inability to express affection is equated with an inability to have affection. A woman in [Adam’s girlfriend] Beth’s position, beginning a relationship with a man with Asperger’s but uncertain where it will lead, will leave the theater determined to break things off. Adam, then, is a funny little beast, a romantic comedy about Asperger’s that leaves no room for romance in the lives of Aspies. Even as it gets our symptoms right, it does not appear to think we deserve love.
Read the rest here. I would add that, while I don’t get into it in the review for obvious reasons, the film’s ending only exacerbates this problem, making Adam more of a child, and his desire for love less worthy of reciprocation.