If I told you that Adam was about a man with Asperger syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism, you would instantly lose all interest in seeing it, right? Yeah, that's what I thought. If Fox Searchlight's marketers are smart, they'll keep a lid on that aspect of the film, because it's actually a humorously bittersweet story buoyed by likable performances, and not an oh-geez-here-comes-another-film-about-a-saintly-disabled-person movie.
The Adam in question, played by Hugh Dancy, is an electronic engineer whose current job has him working on a toy company's new talking doll. Adam's father has just died, leaving him alone in the spacious Manhattan apartment they once shared, with Harlan (Frankie Faison), a family friend, to keep an eye on him
Adam can mostly take care of himself, though. People with Asperger -- Aspies, as Adam calls them -- take things literally and have trouble knowing what other people are thinking, and they tend to misread facial expressions. Aside from that, they do OK. Adam is happiest when following a routine, and he gets particularly excited by astronomy. He doesn't seem much different from your average nerd.
The new tenant in his building is Beth (Rose Byrne), an elementary school teacher who is immediately fascinated by Adam's quirky personality, not realizing it's an actual mental disorder -- and after all, where is the line between "interesting" and "diagnosable"? Adam and Beth begin a tentative friendship and eventually a romance, though both are aware that such an arrangement will be difficult at best. Beth's father (Peter Gallagher), a corporate accountant who's just been indicted for shady bookkeeping, is adamantly anti-Adam for that reason.