Hugh Dancy, Rose Byrne, Peter Gallagher, Amy Irving, Frankie Faison
Beth: Some nerve, right? Calling a school in the middle of Manhattan “Wildwood”??
Adam (Dancy) is an Asperger’s Syndrome sufferer living on his own for the first time after his father passes away. When Beth (Byrne) moves in upstairs and befriends Adam, he’s forced to break out of his sheltered life if he wants to continue seeing this new woman he’s taken a liking to.
Occasionally a movie comes along that is otherwise average but gets elevated quite a bit by a performer that I find so charming that the whole feel of the movie is enhanced by their presence. This is one of those movies, and Rose Byrne is one of those performers. I adore her and could probably watch her in anything. I’m not sure it’s even her performance exactly that’s so great, it’s just her.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the movie. It’s not bad. It all seems a little familiar, but Dancy and Byrne are good together, and there’s a certain simple, believable sweetness to their relationship. Some of the dramatic turns seem contrived, but it never really goes overboard. Plus, the ending isn’t all sappy and formulaic, which is good.
I can’t help but feel that the movie walks a bit of a tightrope with how it portrays Adam, though. For the most part it seems like an attempt at a realistic portrayal of somebody dealing with this disorder, but occasionally in creeps that sort of innocent wisdom that enlightens all those around him aspect of movies featuring characters like this. Almost like Adam is an E.T. type character that shows up, enriches their lives in some ways while showing them new truths, then moves on. Thankfully that’s only present in small doses here and there, but the opening narration from Beth about Adam being like the The Little Prince had me worried.
All in all, I don’t think this movie is going to change anybody’s life, but it’s pleasant, amusing, and hopeful without being corny. Plus…ya know…Rose Byrne’s in it…
As long as you’re attractive, women can overlook your crippling social awkwardness.
10 – 1.5 for some subplots that weren’t all that compelling – 1.1 for the story not being particularly original + .2 for Rose = 7.6