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"Adam" // Start of Germany: December 4th, 2020 (DVD)
On the life of young Adam (Nicholas Alexander) is nothing special at first glance. He goes to high school, meets up with friends at parties, and is looking for a girl who finds him as interesting as he finds her. His high school friends seem to be more successful at this than he is, ditching him for a couple vacation over the summer vacation. Driving away with your parents alone is out of the question. So he's drawn to New York for the summer, where his older sister Casey (Margaret Qualley) educated. Casey is queer and takes Adam into the New York LGBTQ scene. Although there are obviously better places for straight teenagers to meet girls, Adam falls in love with lesbian activist Gillian (Bobbi Salvor Menuez). She is only interested in Adam because she thinks he is a trans man. Overstrained and excited, Adam Gillian does not contradict and tries everything to maintain the facade.
A controversial film
A straight teenager who finds his sister in the queer scene of New York to get across to a lesbian activist? It is clear from the beginning that Adam is a controversial film. After its premiere at last year's Sundance Film Festival a long debate sparked off about the film. The director saw calls for boycotts, allegations of transphobia and homophobia and "corrective" rape Rhys Serious forced to publish a statement on the film. Ernst, himself a trans man and producer of the Amazon Prime series Transparent, stated that he was aware of the controversy, but that his aim has always been to tell the film from the perspective of trans people. The script, based on the novel of the same name by Ariel Schrag, has been fundamentally changed in this regard. Adam's behavior would not be celebrated, but problematized. The characters in the film wouldn't be about Adam. Rather, it is Adam who has to recognize that there is no place for him in a queer community.
The view from the outside
In fact, the film is less about Adam and his aspirations than about the other characters, places and terms he gets to know. In every scene, Adam is the outsider. Adam is confronted with the codes, habits and diversity of the New York queer scene. This creates the impression that the scene is a mainstream culture. The world Adam's sister Casey introduces him to is one where trans people, lesbians, and non-whites rule and dictate the narrative. The otherwise common narrative of the white, male, heterosexual high school teenager who started the plot is turned on its head. In the course of the film, many interesting characters are presented who represent their view of the LGBTQ community and (survival) life in the big city. Stories of coming-outs, complicated questions of gender identity and discussions about racism, sexism and trans-hostility in the queer scene are central to the film. So surprised, for example pose-Actress MJ Rodriguez with an emotional guest appearance.
In contrast to a potpourri of special stories and individuals, Adam's character appears pale and uninteresting. The story of the pubescent teenager from the small town has been told countless times and seems largely uninspired. The more Adam gets entangled in fictional stories in his relationship with Gillian, the less it becomes clear where the script wants to lead the viewer. The initially interesting and controversial point of departure, Adam's relationship with the lesbian Gillian, quickly becomes repetitive and difficult to bear due to Adam's inexperienced and insensitive behavior. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with the acting performance of the entire cast. Nicholas Alexander shines as a confused high school student and is skillfully supported by Bobbi Salvör Menuez. Neither the two main actors nor the remarkably diverse supporting actors can completely fill the big holes in the script.
country: UNITED STATES
Director: Rhys Serious
Script: Ariel Schrag
Template: Ariel Schrag
Music: Jay Wadley
Camera: Shawn Peters
Occupation: Nicholas Alexander, Bobbi Salvör Menuez, Margaret Qualley
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