A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Courage and perseverance are shown in overcoming adversity. Compassion and empathy are also on display. Redemption and making up for past misdemeanors. Some examples of toxic masculinity.
Positive Role Models
Adam, a disabled person, is initially flawed and unlikable. He gets frustrated that his body won't do what he wants it to, and is very rude to those who try to lend a hand. But he slowly comes round and is appreciative of those who help him in times of need, and is apologetic for his past behavior. On the whole, Adam's friends and family are compassionate and helpful. But at times they also come across as unsympathetic, displaying "tough love" toward Adam.
The movie features real actors living with disabilities, though when it comes to significant roles with more dialogue, able-bodied actors are used instead. The characters who are living with disabilities are well-rounded with the movie not shying away from showing both their good and bad qualities. The financial industry is shown to be a place of toxic masculinity with women referred to and treated badly on occasion. The main cast is predominately White with some diversity among the supporting cast.
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Violence & Scariness
The injury that the narrative hinges on is when a character dives into three feet of water, snapping their neck. Although the incident isn't shown graphically, their body is seen floating in the water. There are suicide references and a character attempts to take their own life during the film. A kid throws a hammer through a glass door.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Two characters are shown having sex with some nudity -- breasts are visible. Sexual references are frequent. Disabled characters discuss both not being able to have sex and how they do it when the opportunity arises. A character admits to having an erection and the merits of Viagra are discussed. In one scene, a character is watching pornography on their TV -- breasts and a naked backside are clearly visible.
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There are several uses of the word "f--k" and "s--t." Also "a--hole," "vagina," "d--k," and "bitch." A character says another has a "fat ass." Disabled characters refer to themselves as "cripples." A character is called a "p---y" for supposedly being weak-minded.
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Products & Purchases
Characters are obsessed with money and the notion of success. It takes a life-altering injury to one character for them to realize there is more to life than that.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters can be seen drinking throughout the movie -- mostly in bars and at parties -- as well as smoking cigarettes. Reference to smoking marijuana.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Adam is an uplifting true story that finds positivity in the hardest of circumstances with some strong language, suicide references, and scenes of an upsetting nature. Adam Niskar (Aaron Paul) -- a man obsessed with money and success -- becomes a quadriplegic after a tragic accident. Starting off as a distinctly flawed and unlikable character even before his accident, Adam's frustrations lead him to be rude to those trying to help him. But he soon shows a nicer side. The financial world where Adam works is depicted as being one of toxic masculinity. A man refers to a woman as a "creature" and another character is called a "p---y" for supposedly being weak-minded. But male vulnerability is also explored, as Adam comes to terms with his new way of life. There are a number of suicide references and one character attempts to take their own life. Disabled actors are used to fill supporting roles, but the more significant characters with disabilities are given to able-bodied actors. There are sexual references throughout as sex lives are discussed. A sex scene shows a woman's bare breasts and a character is also seen watching pornography. The language is strong and frequent and includes variants of "f--k." There is also one reference to smoking marijuana. The film is known as Grounded and Quad in some territories. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Despite being based on a true story, this is a somewhat conventional movie that follows a familiar narrative arc. Adam is burdened with its predictability, as an archetypal redemption tale told countless times before. But it does have a unique element in its depiction of those living with disabilities. They -- including central character Adam -- are flawed, and in some cases, distinctly unlikable, making for more authentic portrayals than seen in some movies.
Much of this comes down to a strong central performance from Paul, who balances a level of empathy from the viewer, while also showing off Adam's less favorable sides, giving us a well-rounded and multi-layered character. But for all the film's good, it can't shake off the feeling of being a TV movie, just lacking a little in its originality, and production value.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
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Movies with Characters Who Have Physical Disabilities
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