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Adam

by Kevin Taft
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Sunday Oct 6, 2019
'Adam'
'Adam'  

I'm not sure why "Adam" is playing the LGBTQ fest circuit except for the fact it has LBGTQ actors in it, an LGBTQ storyline, and a trans director (Rhys Ernst). I say this because not only is almost every character in this film unlikeable, and the main character is despicable in his misguided actions against the trans community and lesbians.

On IMDB there are a lot of complaints about the storyline here (based on the book by Ariel Schrag), and I've watched the rating continually drop. (It's currently at a 2.9.) I began reading comments because I thought perhaps I was the only one that was uncomfortable with the storyline, but at the same time, I'm not trans so I wanted that community's perspective. There's a lot of vitriol surrounding this film, but I also see decent reviews from some outlets and so much of the cast is trans or gay that I felt like maybe I was missing something.

"Adam" is about a seventeen-year-old straight cis male (Nicholas Alexander) who goes to New York City to spend the summer with his lesbian sister Casey (Margaret Qualley), who has become very involved in the LGBTQ community. Not only is she dating trans women, but she is involved in various protest groups and frequents sex parties as if they were common weekend events. I don't really understand the relationship between the two siblings, as she seems annoyed that he's there and doesn't make a huge effort to hang out with him. Meanwhile, he seems to just want to get laid.

Shy and awkward, Adam is hardly any woman's dream man. But somehow he catches the eye of Julianne Moore doppelganger Gillian (Bobbi Salvor Menuez), a twenty-two-year-old lesbian who thinks Adam is trans. While she's never dated a trans guy before, she takes a liking to him even though he shows zero personality most of the time the two are together. Seriously, he's a complete dud as a person, so I'm baffled her character would be interested.

Adam allows Gillian to think he's trans, and also lies about his age and where he goes to school. (He says Berkley, but he's still in high school and lives with his parents.) So he's lying to her threefold, and somehow I'm supposed to want to follow this character's journey? At one point he puts on a strap-on to have sex with her which, sure, she knows what he's doing, but she still thinks she's having sex with a trans guy. Instead, he's just a liar.

While he has to fess up to his lies eventually, by that point he gave me the creeps and the tepid reaction by Gillian is almost offensive. But the script by the book's author skates over everything because "they all have their own lies," so that makes it all okay, somehow. Ick.

There are some interesting conversations here regarding trans folk that should have been brought to the forefront. The world itself would open up the eyes of those unfamiliar with it, but this isn't going to be a movie that will appeal to straight audiences, so I'm not sure what the point was except to have trans representation on film (which is the film's only plus). The problem is the trans community deserves way better than a movie about a straight white cis guy pretending to be trans so he can get into the pants of a lesbian.

No, thanks.

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to 'Star Wars' and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg.


Seattle Queer Film Festival

This story is part of our special report titled "Seattle Queer Film Festival." Want to read more? Here's the full list.


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