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3 Things to Know about The Adam Project

  • Michael Foust Contributor
  • Updated Mar 18, 2022
3 Things to Know about <em>The Adam Project</em>

Adam is a free-spirited middle-aged man living in the year 2050 and is filled with pain and regret. His father died when he was young. His mother heroically filled in as a single mom – but Adam often rejected her. Then there is Adam’s wife, Laura, who was recently killed.

Adam, though, has a plan. He’ll fly back in time. He’ll save his wife. And – in theory – his life will be great again.

But Adam’s plan quickly goes awry.

First, he flies back to the wrong year: 2018. He also crashes his plane, which he had stolen. Then there is the not-so-little problem of the people he encounters. He meets his younger 13-year-old self. He also meets his mom.

Can Adam get back to the year 2050 without messing up the time continuum? And can he evade the 2050 version of law enforcement, which is now chasing him and threatening to kill him?

The new Netflix film The Adam Project (PG-13) tells the intriguing story of Adam going back in time and confronting the problems of his past.

It stars Ryan Reynolds as the older Adam, Walker Scobell as the younger Adam, Jennifer Garner as his mother, Zoe Saldana as Laura and Mark Ruffalo as Adam’s father.

Here are three things you should know about the film:

Photo courtesy: ©Netflix, used with permission

Walker Scobell as young Adam

1. It’s Back to the Future Combined with Meet the Robinsons

Time travel movies always spark our imagination. Part of that is due to our God-given desire to want something beyond this observable, earthly world. We want to live forever – and time travel, with its theoretical ability to cheat death – delivers that. But another reason is due to our desire to fix everything in our past. If we could do that, then our present life would be perfect … right? Well, not exactly.

The Adam Project delivers thought-provoking questions while combining elements from other time-travel movies, including the Back to the Future series (Adam’s mother seems to have an affinity for him – but she doesn’t get the chance to fall in love) and Meet the Robinsons (in that animated film, an adopted boy travels back in time to meet his birth mom – only to realize that his present life already was the ideal life).

During one touching scene, the older Adam visits a bar, where he has a brief conversation with his mother, who is raising him as a single mom.

“He hates me,” she confides in him, referencing her son – his younger self.

Adam cheers her up, saying with a smile, “Boys always go back to their mamas.”

He then tells her, “I have the best mom.”

He leaves the bar. She then quickly follows – but is unable to find him.

Photo courtesy: ©Netflix, used with permission

Ryan Reynolds with Walker Scobell and Mark Raffalo walking in the fall

2. It Forces You to Ask Questions about Your Own Life

The Adam Project has plenty of fun moments that can spark a discussion.

“You’re me,” the younger Adam says.

“I once was,” big Adam responds.

Big Adam subsequently gives advice to his younger self on a host of topics, including bullies (he faced those when he was young), girls (he had little success with those until he was older) and family (he tells his younger self to show his mom more grace).

Big Adam has an opportunity to clean up his past – and he’s going to take advantage of it.

No doubt, it can be amusing to ask among friends: What would you tell your younger self if you could travel back in time?

A more helpful question is similar – but slightly different: What would your future self tell you, right now, if it could?

One question is fun but fruitless. The other is fun and beneficial.

The film also includes lessons about regret and tragedy, when the two Adams team up to travel back in time and meet their father. There, they heal some emotional scars.

Photo courtesy: ©Netflix, used with permission

Ryan Reynolds and Zoe Saldaña in the Adam Project

3. It’s a Mixed Bag for Families

The Adam Project is filled with solid messages for parents and children alike: Love your family unconditionally. Redeem the time. Forgive often. Display grace and mercy every day of your life.

Its spaceships, laser battles and time-traveling wormholes spark the imagination.

Still, with a well-deserved PG-13 rating, it falls short of being family-friendly. The younger Adam is punched in the face and stomach by bullies. He is (briefly) held hostage and threatened with death.

The younger Adam also curses – a lot – as does the older Adam. Ryan Reynolds films are known for being filled with coarse language, and this one is no different (details below). We also see a couple make out, and we hear a condom joke. (VidAngel and ClearPlay are good options if you want to clean out the movie’s junk.)

That said, the film offers a solid family-centric plot – and even a time-traveling father-son game of backyard baseball.

We can learn plenty of lessons from it, even if we can’t revisit our past.

Rated PG-13 for violence/action, language and suggestive references. Language details: A-- (14), misuse of “Christ” (1), b--ch (2), OMG (24), h-- (6), s--t (12), d--n (2), misuse of “Jesus Christ” (4), misuse of “God” (7), GD (1).

Entertainment rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Family-friendly rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Photo courtesy: ©Netflix, used with permission

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

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