Adam’s father has died and now he is alone. He eats the same breakfast, All-Bran cereal, and the same dinner, macaroni and cheese with broccoli and chicken on the side, every day, presumably microwaved. Here’s the well-stocked freezer, with the mac n cheese on the top shelf, and the bags of broccoli and bags of chicken sharing the lower. We see the macaroni and cheese supply gradually dwindle. As an element to show the passage of time, it works, but we are left wondering what he does when the food runs out, which it certainly will as he methodically makes it disappear one package at a time.
And how about that magic washing machine? Adam works his way through a closet full of suits, and soon we see empty hangers and a bulging laundry bag. It is at this point in the movie that he meets Beth, his new neighbor, outside the laundry room in the basement of his building. Standing next to Beth at the washing machines, he stuffs the entire contents of the laundry bag into the machine. Suits? At least twice as much clothing as could fit in any washing machine? No detergent? And yet everything works out just fine as we see him well-dressed shortly thereafter. Give me one of those washing machines!
The lack of attention to detail was distracting to me.
And let’s look at Beth herself. A young woman, in New York City, just recently badly hurt by a man, and just moved into a new apartment. How realistic is it that someone like Beth is going to pursue a relationship with a man who, to all appearances, is in his own world? Why would she do that? What compels her to go back to him after he is clueless about helping her with her groceries, sitting by while she struggles up the stairs?
When the two of them go to Central Park to watch the raccoons, they experience a magic moment together. The next morning, he leaves her a new laundry card because he didn’t put anything on the park bench to soften it for her. How is it that this man who has almost no ability to discern what someone else is thinking or feeling is able to realize how much she would have appreciated something to soften the hard park bench?
I suppose that this movie accurately represents what it’s like to have Asperger’s syndrome, but I don’t really know for sure. Overall, it was hard to care about Beth’s character. Although I loved the scene when she was helping Adam learn typical gestures and mannerisms, and the fact that she really did help him, neither character really moved me deeply. The movie needed more grace, more mercy, and more love.