Adam (Hugh Dancy), is a handsome but intriguing young man with Asperger's Syndrome, who has all his life led a sheltered existence. After his father dies, he is left alone in their New York apartment. When he meets his new neighbour, Beth (Rose Byrne), Adam is at first intrigued and then romantically interested - but he doesn't know how to manage his Asperger's. Beth takes to him and tries to help, and introduces him to her parents (Amy Irving, Peter Gallagher). But complications erupt when Adam discovers she was not totally honest with him and her accountant father is charged with an indictable offence.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Max Mayer has written a remarkably engaging screenplay about a relationship that isn't meant to be yet somehow is ... but not quite as we might expect, from this charming yet down to earth romantic comedy. As in Lars and the Real Girl, a young man who is an outsider by virtue of his condition makes a deep and valuable impact on those around him.
Hugh Dancy excels as Adam, his Syndrome both a blessing and a curse: it hinders 'normal' interaction with others, but the payoff is brutal honesty. It takes some managing to be honest in this world ... Rose Byrne gives a wonderfully natural performance as Beth, full of subtleties, emotion and genuine charm.
It's the way Mayer constructs the meeting and bonding of Adam and Beth that is so endearing and satisfying, filled with detail and developed with grace and ease. We recognise not just how but why it happens as two distant souls glide gently into each other's orbit.
Both Amy Irving and especially Peter Gallagher as the father, deliver knockout performances in the understated manner of polished pros, as does Frankie Faison as Adam's good friend.
Mayer's direction, the epitome of discretion, is as adept as his observant writing, ensuring that nothing is thrown away nor embellished. He makes good use of the camera and allows images to tell as much of the story - and it's context - as words. It's a wholly satisfying film in which the struggle of a lonely young man comes to matter and his relationship with Beth is crucial to his future, in ways he only discovers later, after some heartache.
Cinematographer Seamus Tierney makes the most of the film's naturalistic tone with moody interiors and unfussy exteriors. It's filmmaking for grown ups who love cinema and all it can do by way of opening hearts as well as minds.
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CAST: Hugh Dancy, Rose Byrne, Peter Gallagher, Amy Irving, Frankie Faison
PRODUCER: Leslie Urdang, Miranda de Pencier, Dean Vanech
DIRECTOR: Max Mayer
SCRIPT: Max Mayer
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Seamus Tierney
EDITOR: Grant Myers
MUSIC: Christopher Lennertz
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Tamar Gadish
RUNNING TIME: 99 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 20, 2009