Adam

Here is another entry by Jude Harrington where he discusses his thoughts on Adam

A few years ago I saw the trailer for the film Adam and put this on my list of must-see films. Adam (2009), with Hugh Dancy and Rose Byrne, is a story about Adam, who struggles with Asperger’s syndrome, and Elizabeth (Beth), a children’s writer and teacher, as they journey together to find meaning and human connection.  This film explores two seemingly broken, yet very normal, individuals as they come together to build the bonds of friendship that lead to a surprisingly un-awakard romantic connection.  In these two we find a naked humanity in a broken world trying to understand each other and the world around them.  Adam’s curse is to see the world as is and Beth’s curse is that the illusion that her world is built upon slowly evaporates.

What is the importance of human connection?  Is it functional?  Is it emotional? If one person needs the other to function and feels love because of this then is this or can this be sufficient for the one who needs this connection emotionally? I guess this depends on the true needs of the person.  Sometimes because two people need each other to function it is in reality their very connection that prevents them from functioning. If this is true then how are we to know which is the case?  Now this is not the place for a long and drawn out reflection on knowledge and even if it were I’m not sure it would provide what people truly want.  What I think we want is to be connected to a person in such a way that we are authentically human, which to say authentically ourselves. The answer we hope for and sometimes see when it’s not really there is a connection that fulfills us in our core.  Adam and Beth have a unique ability to clearly see what they mean to each other.  So we get to take a walk through a web of the seemingly normal through their eyes as they break down relationships from afar and heal others.

The underlying backdrop is the theme of the universe. Adam’s fascination with outer space and quantum mechanics is a perfect theme for this film because between Adam and Beth the audience is given exactly what physicist are looking for, namely unification. In the beginning we see Adam at his Father’s funeral and later lose his job. In Beth’s case we find out that she is coming out of a long relationship where her ex had been cheating on her and we watch her parent’s relationship deteriorate over the course of a court case.  The very things that brought them unity are torn away and in each other they find unity. To backtrack for a brief moment, what physicists are looking for is a theory that can explain the infinitely small and the infinitely large because if they can find this then they would have a theory to explain everything. We find this in black holes and this is where our various theories break down. This momentary backtrack sheds some light on the theme of unification and the human yearning for completion found only in the other. Adam, in seeing the world for what it is, gives us the infinitely small and Beth, seeing the illusion of how things should be, gives us the infinitely large and together those worlds break down in black holes. On the one hand reality rears its ugly head and shows them the difficulties of relationships and on the other we see the peace that relationships can bring through fulfillment in the other.  As these worlds, or theories, collide between Adam and Beth the peaceful chaos that is their relationship and all of ours is revealed.

What happens to Adam and Beth in the end?  Well that you will have to see it for yourself.

-Jude Harrington

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