'I Am Sam' - A Movie Review
'I Am Sam' is a very important and eye-opening film to witness.
I think I can, Sam I am. Do you know why Sam I am? Because I can.
I Am Sam is a 2001 drama directed by Jessie Nelson about a mentally handicapped man in a custody battle for his seven-year old daughter. In this difficult journey, Sam touches the people he meets, opening their eyes to see that there is more in the eyes of a mentally challenged single father.
The first time I watched I Am Sam, the story gave me all the feels. It is an emotional, well-acted, and strong story. Never take advantage of those who are mentally handicapped. I Am Sam changed my perspective on those who are challenged.
Sean Penn is stupendous, genuine, and meaningful in his performance as the gentle handicapped single father, Sam. His mannerisms and his outlook created a beautiful character for audiences to connect with. Penn fights for the battle of his life in harsh trials. Penn most definitely deserved the best actor award for his phenomenal performance that forever engraves a positive mark for those who are challenged.
I have no idea where to start with Dakota Fanning’s strong and mature performance as the seven-year old Lucy. Fanning is incredible and genuine, never falling back. She was always right on the mark, struggling to understand, fighting back, and enjoying every moment with her disabled father. Her performance is outstanding, creating a figure for young children to look up to.
Michelle Pfeiffer single-handedly conquered resilience, and a new perspective of life as the struggling lawyer, Rita. Pfeiffer is so pure and genuine that she actually brings tears into your eyes during a powerfully emotional scene where she explodes all her fears and insecurities to Sam.
I Am Sam wouldn’t be the powerful story it is without a fantastic cast of actors. Dianne Wiest, Richard Schiff, Ken Jenkins, and the amazing Laura Dern learn a valuable lesson from a man who has more to give.
Friends are always there to help you. Playing the roles of Sam’s handicapped friends, Stanley DeSantis (Robert), Brad Silverman (Brad), Joseph Rosenberg (Joe), and Doug Hutchinson (Ifty) are remarkable playing off of each other. Two out of the four actors are mentally handicapped giving insight into how they see things.
The directing, soundtrack, unique camera angles, and the attention to such a provocative story is what makes I Am Sam such a powerful story. I love the angle of perspectives, especially through Sam’s eyes when he’s in a new environment. The swift and up-close shots made audiences get into the mind of Sam, seeing the world from his perspective.
The court scenes are well-acted and very real scenes. I Am Sam makes you feel an assortment of emotions such as unfairness. While going to court eventually helps, it is a tough and emotional experience for all involved.
Sam and Lucy’s relationship is incredible and beautiful. I enjoyed their interactions as they read together, went out to iHop, and forced the other to be open and honest, making them see that there is so much more.
Interacting with handicapped people is tough. From my own life experiences, I have learned to understand and make conversation with those who are mentally challenged. They have a different understanding of the world, but that does not mean they don’t have feelings. You never know what you can learn, especially about yourself.
I Am Sam is very important. Everyone has to fight for what they love. Don’t let your differences stop you. It is hard to watch at times, dealing with difficult emotional situations, and the hurtful interactions towards Sam hit hard. This is an eye-opening film for all to witness.