About Adam

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The ViewWellington Review

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Review byMatthew Turner27/04/2001

Two stars out of five
Running time: 105 mins

Attractively-played but ultimately frustrating and disappointing film, let down by an infuriatingly unresolved ending.

Lucy (Kate Hudson from Almost Famous), Laura (Frances O’Connor) and Alice (Charlotte Bradley) are three sisters in a modern-day Irish family. Lucy is the flighty-but-gorgeous waitress / singer with a different boyfriend every week, Laura is the bookish intellectual, dreaming of a ‘great passion’, and Alice is the depressed and cynical elder sister, trapped in a stale marriage to a deeply dull husband.

Then, one night, Kate meets a charming and enigmatic young man named Adam (Stuart Townsend), and falls in love with him. He swiftly charms her entire family and it isn’t long before he’s seduced not only Laura and Alice, but also Lucy’s brother David and his virginal girlfriend! Fittingly, the story is told from the point of view of each sibling in turn (including David) and we quickly realise that each person sees Adam the way they want to see him. (This is, apparently, an increasingly popular narrative device – the same trick is also used in One Night at McCool’s and The Hole).

Thus, Lucy sees the romantic man of her dreams, Laura sees a poetic, tortured soul with a ‘dark secret in his past’, David sees a disturbingly attractive, ‘cool’, lady-killing best friend and Alice sees a devilishly lusty guilt-free shag-hound. This would be fine, except that’s all the film has to offer.

When finally caught out by Alice, Adam explains that he has the capacity to give people whatever they want from him. And that’s it. There are no confrontations and no recriminations. He doesn’t appear to suffer any remorse for what he’s doing and we’re asked to believe that all three sisters (who seem to be pretty close) could sleep with Adam and never tell each other, despite the fact that one of them marries him!

The sad part is that it could just about have worked, providing Adam left at the end, having ‘done his work’, as it were. Unfortunately, he marries one of the sisters, leaving the ending infuriatingly unresolved.

That said, it’s attractively played by all three female leads. Hudson’s Irish accent is pretty impressive and she also sings all her character’s songs herself. O’Connor is brilliant as always (one day she’ll get the mainstream break she deserves), and Charlotte Bradley conveys both resigned frustration and repressed sexual passion as Alice.

Townsend does a good job of playing, effectively, four variations on the same character, but we never really get to know anything ‘about Adam’ (although arguably, that’s the whole point). There’s also good support from comedian Tommy Tiernan (as Lucy’s ex), Alan Maher (as David) and Roseleen Linehan (as the mother).

Ultimately then, this is watchable enough (at least till the end) and raises a few smiles through its use of multiple viewpoints, but it isn’t reallyworth shelling out to see it on the big screen. Wait for the video.

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Content updated: 20/07/2019 08:37

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