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ADAM – Christopher Lennertz

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A small scale romantic drama about a man suffering from Asberger’s Syndrome, Adam stars Hugh Dancy as the titular character, an introverted young man with awkward social graces, who develops a relationship with equally shy Beth (Rose Byrne), a young woman who lives in the same apartment building, who is recovering from her own damaged past relationship. Director Max Mayer’s film, which also stars Peter Gallagher and Amy Irving, takes a gentle look at the life of Asberger’s sufferers, proving that all relationships – no matter what the hurdles – can be overcome by love.

The score for Adam is by Christopher Lennertz, who has hitherto been better known for his large-scale action scores for video games and for his work on big-budget comedies such as Alvin and the Chipmunks and Meet the Spartans. Adam is a small-scale score for a small-scale film, intimate and introspective, written for a small string orchestra and solo piano and guitar. The thematic writing is lovely; the central “Adam’s Theme” has an ironic, almost comical feel to it, portraying the central character is a lovable eccentric, humanizing his character. Its recapitulations in cues such as “Adam at Home”, “Adam’s Planetarium”, the bittersweet “Testimony/Adam Gets Fired”, the tender “The Kiss”, and the downbeat “I Can’t Go/Beth Leaves” give the score a thematic anchor which is very welcome.

Adam’s interactions with his hesitant love interest infuse the score with Thomas Newman-style suburban percussion elements, adding marimbas and various rattles to underscore their hesitant courtship in cues such as “Adam Meets Beth” and “Adam Explains Asperger’s”. Conversely, the unnerving, anguished side of Adam’s life comes starkly to the fore in nervous, unsettling pieces such as “Clocks” and “Watching the Children”, which reinforce and remind the listener that Asberger’s Syndrome is still a debilitating mental illness, and not a quirky character trait.

“The Journey”, the longest cue on the album, and “Beth Reflects” have some gorgeous violin and cello passages weaving in and of the montage, which add another level of understated beauty to the score. The score concludes with an original song called “So Many Things to Tell You”, written by Lennertz in collaboration with Faroese singer/songwriter Teitur Lassen, and which quite lovely, in a bleak sort of way.

The whole score is a world away from the large-scale action work of his video game scores such as Gun, Warhawk or Quantum of Solace, but creating this kind of intimate atmosphere is arguably a more difficult task, and proves that Lennertz is well on his way to becoming the next composer to make the successful leap from games to major feature films.

Rating: ***½

Track Listing:

  • Adam’s Theme (3:17)
  • Adam at Home (1:25)
  • Adam Meets Beth (2:10)
  • Clocks (1:37)
  • Adam’s Planetarium (2:32)
  • At the Park (1:35)
  • Testimony/Adam Gets Fired (2:15)
  • Watching the Children (1:34)
  • Adam Explains Asperger’s (0:52)
  • Life with Beth (1:23)
  • Window Washing (1:40)
  • The Hug (0:35)
  • The Kiss (1:25)
  • What Are You Going to Do (1:02)
  • Adam Preparing/The Courtroom (2:23)
  • They Fight/Return to the City (1:19)
  • The Journey (4:57)
  • Beth Reflects (1:31)
  • I Can’t Go/Beth Leaves (3:21)
  • To California (1:45)
  • So Many Things to Tell You (performed by Teitur) (3:20)

Running Time: 41 minutes 58 seconds

Promo (2009)

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