Back in early July (the 6th, to be exact) I went to a showing of Adam in DC at the MPAA building. There was a number of people in attendance, and most of the ones that I knew were involved in the Autism/Advocacy community.
I liked the movie itself a good bit. Adam is about a young man and a young woman who fall in love- the twist here that the young man, the titular Adam, has Asperger’s Syndrome. For much of the film we follow Beth (the young woman) as she meets and then starts to fall for Adam while dealing with disapproval from co-workers, friends, and parents. It was cute for some parts, and though it is billed as a Romantic Comedy I found it to be more of a Dramatic Romance. (This sentiment has been expressed by others, such as Jake Crosby*.) There was a lot covered here, and a lot of the comedy was of a more NT nature.
At the screening itself we were asked what seemed to be standing out to us about the film. The most common sentiment was about how Adam is the only on-spectrum person we see in the movie; our worries about Aspergers becoming the new “Magic Negro” in film (ironic, considering the character’s only friend seems to be a man who helps him with certain things and whose conversations were similar enough to the trope); and that the character of Adam simply h ad too many traits for one person.
As more and more people got in to see the movie, E-mail lists exploded. (Not literally of course!) Each person on spectrum that watched had problems with different aspects of Adam’s character- often the same aspects that others most strongly identified with. As a community, we Identified our number one issue- that Adam was too obviously a composite character.
(Some blog** reviews: Sister Sunshine’s, Abledbody, Aspie perspective’s not-review, Autisticcat’s Not-review, Aspieteacher’s review, Note: though as you can see I’m not posting spoilers for the movie, some of these reviews do.)
In the end, though, it’s a movie I- and others- want to have seen. I know of at least two Canadian Autistic friends on Twitter who want to get a showing locally at some point and who I’ve been actively communicating with. Right now Adam is on a limited release, and is releasing to a gradually wider audience over the next month. (If you’d like to know when the release nearest you is scheduled, Foxsearchlight- the distributor- has a list of anticipated release dates.)
Currently, the “wide” release date shows mostly major cities, but not everyone lives in major cities. The nearest anticipated release to my hometown is in Pittsburgh- around a 2 hour drive each way. And the thing is that the people I want most to see this are unlikely to travel that far for it. These are the Parents who crave something positive about the adult their child might grow into someday and the employers who don’t know what is up with that one employee. The girlfriend who doesn’t know what she’s doing and the young man who doesn’t identify himself yet. The young adult who doesn’t have the support structure he or she needs to enable a ride so far- and doesn’t know how to develop it.
Those are all the least likely to travel two hours to see a movie for various reason, be they the time away from the home or office, not seeing enough relevance for that sort of trip, or not being able to arrange the transportation. But they are the ones that will benefit the most from watching this movie, not the ones who have been hyping it and have the means to travel that far.
So I, and some others, are looking for ways to push for a local showing, even if it’s only a one-time showing. It’s why we are leaving comments about our interest in a wider release on the distributor’s page. It’s why we are reaching out to the local groups for autistic and for parents and why we are nervously approaching the manager’s desk at the theatres. It’s why we are tweeting about it, why we are talking about it on facebook- or making snide remarks about the NT-biased quiz- and myspace, why we are hyping it.
Because there IS a segment of society that needs the exposure that this movie gives, but won’t get it unless we do something.
Consider this my asking you to join us in getting this to local theatres. I’ll be asking the Movies at Meadville if they’d consider having Adam as a weekend showing this fall, and have been asking others to do the same in their locally run theatres. I’ll be talking to the support groups in Venango and Crawford counties about having them express interest in a showing, in perhaps going in as groups. Maybe I’ll get up the courage to ask the meadville Unitarian church about it.
Remember, the more interest that is drummed up, the wider the release gets, and the more people who see it and start to ask questions about their perspective of who we are.
* Please note, just because I’m linking to an article doesn’t mean I agree with the individual in all or any aspects other than explicitly mentioned, and I might even have some major philiosophical issues with them outside of the context in which they are mentioned. I feel, though, that my moral obligation to share information outweighs those differences in this specific context.
** Got a review? Let me know! I’m always looking for more info for people. Also, the not reviews are reactions to the publicity that are relevant to the discussion but by people who are anticipating seeing the movie.
And here’s a Trailer for your dose of video clip: