Adam was a brilliant movie about Asperger Syndrome

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03 Sep 2014, 11:55 pm

AnnaRyan wrote:
Scanner wrote:
I was like this character when I was younger. I eventually learned to be more "normalized" I practiced expressions I practiced ways to sit and where to put my hands, how to walk in a more normal fashion. I wasn't as clearly stressed all the time as this character was. I was more quiet and absent going into my own mind. The one scene where Adam is staring at a planetary object on the desk of his lawyer (what is that exactly? I would like one) that would be more like how I am most of the time.

I liked the movie, I don't think they really went overboard so much as they showed a character that didn't assimilate much. If I had never done much work to try and pretend to be normal, I would be quite close to how the character is, again without all the nervousness all the time.


I think that makes sense, that Adam was like someone with Aspergers who had not worked on his social skills at all.

Is this zoning out a common thing for people with Aspergers?


Maybe, I know for me it's the only way I can cope. I go into a trance and think about a number of problems to solve. If I am too aware of what's happening it tends to overwhelm me.



AnnaRyan
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04 Sep 2014, 9:47 am

Scanner wrote:
Maybe, I know for me it's the only way I can cope. I go into a trance and think about a number of problems to solve. If I am too aware of what's happening it tends to overwhelm me.


That makes sense.

My husband has Aspergers and he doesn't tend to zone out, but I've seen others do that from time to time.



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04 Sep 2014, 12:04 pm

If concentrating so intensely on something that you mostly screen out other information including sensory input qualifies as "zoning out" then yes, but if "zoning out" is more becoming unfocused, then no.

I sometimes find that I have forgotten to breathe while concentrating really intently on something and am being interrupted by a gasp forced from some lower-level nervous system process. Or my bladder my alert me to the fact that I need to relieve it and I then become aware that I have been hyper focused for hours and also need to eat.

I find it very hard to focus on things that run afoul of my executive function problems or are boring, but effortless to focus deeply on things that interest me.



russiank12
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04 Sep 2014, 2:11 pm

Adamantium wrote:
If concentrating so intensely on something that you mostly screen out other information including sensory input qualifies as "zoning out" then yes, but if "zoning out" is more becoming unfocused, then no.

I sometimes find that I have forgotten to breathe while concentrating really intently on something and am being interrupted by a gasp forced from some lower-level nervous system process. Or my bladder my alert me to the fact that I need to relieve it and I then become aware that I have been hyper focused for hours and also need to eat.

I find it very hard to focus on things that run afoul of my executive function problems or are boring, but effortless to focus deeply on things that interest me.


Would this be classified as hyperfocusing?



AnnaRyan
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05 Sep 2014, 12:49 pm

Adamantium wrote:
If concentrating so intensely on something that you mostly screen out other information including sensory input qualifies as "zoning out" then yes, but if "zoning out" is more becoming unfocused, then no.

I sometimes find that I have forgotten to breathe while concentrating really intently on something and am being interrupted by a gasp forced from some lower-level nervous system process. Or my bladder my alert me to the fact that I need to relieve it and I then become aware that I have been hyper focused for hours and also need to eat.

I find it very hard to focus on things that run afoul of my executive function problems or are boring, but effortless to focus deeply on things that interest me.


That was really informative, thank you!

My husband doesn't "zone out" as in "space out" to random thoughts, but he does zone out to focused thoughts, and doesn't seem to need to eat or do anything but stay in that focus for sometimes hours at a time. He also sometimes does these "mental exercises," as he calls them, during which he imagines a certain scenario played out. It's pretty amazing how detailed he can imagine things, and it really helps him make good decisions, and he's spent time imagining the different outcomes.

He has the same issue with not being very good at focusing on things he finds boring. But things that are interesting and easy for deep thought.

That was very insightful, what you shared!



kraftiekortie
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05 Sep 2014, 5:25 pm

I wish I had that ability to focus!



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17 Oct 2014, 1:04 am

I thought the movie was brilliant. It was a far more accurate and detailed portrayal of AS than anything I've seen. Yes, Aspies like to talk a lot about one thing (Big Bang Theory), and yes, they have trouble with social interactions (Max & Mary), but those aspects don't usually get the detail they should with these portrayals. That's not the case with Adam. I felt like Hugh and the writers really understood what it really means for an Aspie to have trouble socially, or to be inclined for routines, for example. I blame the obnoxious prevalence of false diagnoses on many of the other, less detailed portrayals I've seen. I think if those portrayals were more like Adam, the people who see those portrayals, would not be as likely to diagnose themselves.



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17 Oct 2014, 1:13 am

nilescrane wrote:
He was diagnosed at 15, and I only got my diagnosis this year, I'm 24, also I'm a girl, but the main difference between us is our level of functioning.


This is interesting to me. You guys knew about your brother, it seems like, for a while, before you were diagnosed. Did your family suspect that you had it? I feel like if I find out one of my siblings had it, it would come as a huge shock. How did your brother take it?



ShonaMKimono
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14 Feb 2016, 9:04 am

I just watched the Movie with my Aspie BF for the first time as a valentines thing. As you'd expect, I found the ending quite sad. some NTs have said that Rose Byrne was too understanding. I have to disagree.

It seemed like she went into the situation without sufficient preparation and kept expecting NT behaviour from him when she should have understood that it just wasn't possible for him. I'm fairly confident that if she had really tried to understand, and let go of her own expectations she would have had a much happier time with him and they wouldn't have had so many problems.

The whole relationship seemed rushed and didn't really make sense to me. I mean yes, it could happen. But could such a short relationship really leave such a lasting mark on their lives? I don't know.

And the ending was so depressing! If I could remake it, I would make it as a romantic comedy, where the NT is gradually learning how to get along with the Aspie, and learning strategies for how to handle each Aspie trait, step by step. An Aspie-NT wedding in a movie is already ripe for rich (but sympathetic) humour. A little like Benny and Joon, but with more humour and brains.

And to all the aspies further up who keep saying, "A beautiful woman like Rose Byrne could never love an Aspie." Firstly, she said in an interview that Adam was largely based on a real young man with Aspergers, and she wondered why he didn't have a GF because he was attractive, sweet and honest.

Secondly, the skills you need for getting along in an AS-NT relationship are learnable, and largely down to finding the right way to communicate. And finding an NT who is willing to learn with you, as I'm doing with my lovely AS boy.



redrobin62
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14 Feb 2016, 2:12 pm

<--- Not gonna be negative here. At least they made an aspie movie. Not too many of those going around. The ending of Adam, however, was stereotypical happy Hollywood nonsense so that's why I prefer Mary & Max.



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14 Feb 2016, 2:32 pm

redrobin62 wrote:
<--- Not gonna be negative here. At least they made an aspie movie. Not too many of those going around. The ending of Adam, however, was stereotypical happy Hollywood nonsense so that's why I prefer Mary & Max.



What? They didn't even stay together. Unless there was an alternate ending where they did stay and got married but I had only seen one ending. I never saw the alternate.


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14 Feb 2016, 3:24 pm

Here's the synopsis of the ending. Seriously, I'm not trying to be negative, but the great big "happy bow" that Hollywood always wraps their movies in seems like they're pandering to an audience that is paying good money for a happy, uplifting ending, regardless of how unrealistic it seems. I prefer the reality of foreign language films better.

[A year later, Adam is working at the observatory, where his keen interest in space telescopes and his eidetic memory have made him successful and fulfilled in his job. He has also seemingly learned much more about picking up on social cues and making an effort to deliberately put himself in social situations. Adam receives a package from Beth, containing her first published children's book inspired by Adam and Asperger syndrome. He reads the first page in which Beth has anthropomorphized raccoons, used to represent Adam and his family and that Adam did not feel he had a place in society in New York. Adam looks deep in thought and has a moment of realization, he understands why Beth wanted to anthropomorphize the raccoons. Even after a year apart, this moment of clarity seems to bring him closer to Beth and he smiles in happiness.]



ShonaMKimono
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14 Feb 2016, 5:24 pm

Well, I don't want to give you a diatribe. But there are two or three key reasons that stories tend to end with happy endings. (And your comment has surprised me! Usually, I like sad endings and my AS BF hates them!)

Firstly, the primary purpose of stories is to depict or record an exceptional set of events; something sufficiently unusual that the information had to be shared. So stories about failed relationships tend not to be retold, because the average person will have a wide range of failed relationships, and only one that lasts till death.

The fact is that there are AS-NT marriages out there where both within seem to be quite happy, and so a successful relationship would technically be just as honest in a movie like this. All the more honest if they demonstrate how such relationships succeed.

It's also factual that a significant number of people on the Autism spectrum sooner or later find jobs that play to their strengths, or give them some sense of satisfaction. Yes, some end up living in half-way houses. But not all of them.

Secondly, it's very hard for a story to feel "finished" if the ending is negative. One of the reasons storytelling as a concept exists is that it provides an exchange of information for the sake of finding solutions to potential future problems.

Supposing a man returns to his village with a story of a wolf encounter. The whole village won't be satisfied with, "My son got eaten. The end." The tension won't subside till they all know the wolf is dead, and so the natural resolution to the scenario is a village that is safe again.

In this case, the responsible thing to do would be to show that NTs and ASs can actually love each other, because they can, and because it's psychologically healthy to know it. But the idea that you should abandon people that need you... to me that doesn't seem like a very good moral. It assumes that they both couldn't have made the same personal development together, with each other's support, which isn't true. As it was, Adam's relationship with Beth was clearly essential to his development within the story, and vice versa.

Thirdly, storytelling exists predominantly as a form of entertainment and recreation. We seek them out after a long day's work because we want to relax, and possibly satisfy some sort of fantasy not realized in our reality.

So if a story leaves you feeling sad, angry, or dissatisfied technically it hasn't served its purpose. Technically it's done the exact opposite.

I'd be the last person to say foreign films get it wrong. I think they make a wonderful contrast to the American film industry. But I think there is another level where foreign filmmakers like Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige know that people go to their movies to have a more sophisticated and artsy film going experience.

They understand that their movies will likely be marketed to viewers like you that can't enjoy neat resolutions because they feel too clichéd. And so their movies tend to have sad endings.

(Though it's worth mentioning that through the eyes of post-communist audiences, some sad endings may seem happy. At the end of both "Curse of the Golden Flower" and "The Banquet" The Chinese audience might have felt glad that the royal family was killed since some of the events most important to their history involved the killing of Emperors.)

Yes, I'm glad the movie got made, but I feel my curiosity isn't satisfied, since the Beth character was really a very "normal" stereotypical movie woman, with maybe a little extra baggage. I mean, imagine if the Beth character had been more like Zooey Deschanel, or Ellen Ripley, or Audrey Hepburn, or Kyari Pamyu Pamyu, or Janeane Garofalo, or Mrs. Robinson.

The scenario would have naturally played out differently each time because they are all such different women despite all being NT (as far as I know). Not to mention the wide diversity of Aspies out there. So I feel like there are so many other, great if not better, stories that could still be told about the NT-AS relationship.