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I Am Sam (2001) Poster


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stunning performances
alphabettysoup1 July 2002
A Truly wonderful film that left you thinking and feeling for hours after walking out of the cinema.

Michelle Pfeiffer is exact in her portrayal of the smart, rich, no-nonsense lawyer who realises how empty her luxurious and successful life is. As always she delivers an outstanding performance and reminds us of just how excellent and beautiful an actress she is.

Sean Penn is so believable that you forget that he doesn't actually have anything wrong with him...he captures every emotion perfectly and instills all of that emotion in the audience. Penn is highly under rated in the world that is movies, as he shows with this Oscar potential performance.

The young actress who plays his daughter is amazingly mature in her acting, whilst always managing to capture the innocence of her youthfullness. On top of all that she is gorgeous. The combination of three excellent main actors combined with the supporting actors and the genuine theme and style of the film makes I am Sam an excellent and must see film. Truly Inspiring.
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Amy72328 August 2002
I Am Sam is a great movie that deals with marginalized people in our society and how they're treated. It's a very realistic portrayal. I watched it with my 13 year old daughter and it alternately made us cry, got us angry and caused us to laugh uncontrollably.

Sam is loved and respected by those who know him (Starbuck's patrons, IHOP Waitress, friends), taunted by those who have no regard for anyone different (Lucy's arrogant classmate and his equally arrogant father) and generally misunderstood by everyone else.

I especially liked the irony of the lawyer, who is an emotional train wreck, yet because she's an adult intellecutally, no one questions her ability as a parent. Sam on the other hand loves his daughter and it shows.

This movie is not for anyone looking for a "fun weekend rent". If you rent this, be prepared to have your values and your emotions challenged.
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One of my favourite movie
MR_Heraclius24 February 2020
This film goes to show you that often critics lose their humanity and writhe in puddles of their own egotistical nonsense. This is a great film with a brilliant performance by Sean Penn (who broke the rules and went full retard). I wouldn't put it up there with Rain Man, but this is still a great film. Michelle Pfeiffer wishes every film she was in was like this, and Dakota Fanning is cute enough to get away with playing the same role she played in every film she did as a child: the little girl who's too smart for her own good.
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tufftexan2 February 2002
There's only one reason why I don't like this movie right now. Because I have a splitting headache from being emotionally drained!

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE has been the top of my list for all time favorite movies, now I AM SAM has moved in right next to it.

I'm not saying that you have to have kids to understand the true meaning behind this movie, but I must say it certainly helps. I told my wife on the way back home from the movie that she was sooo stuck with me. She knew what I was referring to; our 6 month old little girl and our 5 year old little girl. I guess I'm just a good ole fashion softy. I came home and gave my 5 year old the biggest hug of her life and the tears just started flowing. I felt I had been impatient with her lately and just needed to let her know how much her daddy loves her.

I know this isn't a true rating of a movie. I'm not describing certain scenes that I thought were great or needed improving, I just wanted to express how it made me feel. And though I have a pounding head right now, I feel like I'm the luckiest dad in the world!
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BrandtSponseller15 June 2005
I know that title isn't very descriptive, but all I could say for awhile after watching I Am Sam was, "Wow!" Although that's a positive endorsement of the film--it's rare that a film has me basically speechless afterward (I usually suffer from logorrhea, which sounds close enough to diarrhea that you could call it (verbal) flatulence instead if you like)--it turned out to be quite a problem, because we went to dinner right afterward and I had to give a lecture. I believe I was served some kind of raw beef, and I have an exorbitant dry cleaning bill from the tomatoes and rotten eggs.

But I won't bill director/co-writer Jessie Nelson, because it's not her fault that her film is so powerful and so stunningly constructed that it made me monosyllabic. I can only blame myself for putting off watching her work for so long.

I Am Sam begins with Sam Dawson (Sean Penn) at his job. He lives in Santa Monica and works at Starbucks. We can see that he's mentally retarded. He appears slightly autistic. Because of this, he's given only menial tasks to do. Suddenly, his boss tells him that he has to go. We see Sam running through the streets, catching buses and so on to end up at a hospital. A woman is in labor and it turns out that he's the father, but she wants nothing to do with him afterward--apparently, it was something like a one night stand. She abandons him with the baby. Aided by a quartet of developmentally disabled friends and his agoraphobic neighbor, Annie Cassell (Dianne Wiest), we see Sam doing his best to raise the girl, Lucy Diamond Dawson (eventually played by Dakota Fanning)--so named because Sam is a big Beatles fan. At least until he is "accidentally arrested". Government officials question his ability to raise his daughter, and I Am Sam becomes the tale of Sam's legal battle to retain custody of Lucy, aided by high profile lawyer Rita Harrison (Michelle Pfeiffer).

I Am Sam will likely make you say, "Wow!" afterward because it is a masterpiece on every artistic and technical level.

All of the major cast members give one of the best performances of their careers, and many of these actors have had a number of artistic triumphs on their résumés. Sean Penn is completely natural and believable as a developmentally disabled man. Two of the men playing his friends really were developmentally disabled, having been found at L.A. Goal, a non-profit agency dedicated to helping such people through a variety of programs, and it's next to impossible to tell them apart from the other actors. Nelson and her co-writer, Kristine Johnson, spent a lot of time at L.A. Goal doing research, as did Penn. Pfeiffer perfectly executes a complex character who has to undergo a number of far reaching transformations and even a breakdown of sorts. As for Fanning, I haven't seen her in a film yet where she didn't threaten to steal the whole thing from her senior, much more experienced colleagues, and during the filming of I Am Sam she was only 6 or 7. Wiest, Richard Schiff, Laura Dern and others also turn in very complex performances that convey characters with deep, multifaceted histories, despite their relatively little screen time.

Nelson approaches the film with a number of unusual artistic and technical angles that all work wonderfully. The cinematography is mostly hand-held work. Unlike similar attempts in films such as Lars Von Trier's Dogville (2003), the hand-held work never feels affected or intrusive here--it's completely "organic". The most common purpose of the unusual cinematography is to give the viewer almost a subjective sense of what it's like to be Sam, to experience the world in the way he does. Cinematographer Elliot Davis moves his camera in a way closely mirrored with Sean Penn's movements. There's an additional emotional symbolism. When Sam is feeling agitated, the camera-work is agitated. Likewise when Sam is confused, pensive, and so on. Davis shoots from a lot of unusual angles. All of them work.

Nelson also has the editing, lighting and production design match the aesthetic of the cinematography. The editing is sometimes very choppy, but always feels "natural", just right for conveying Sam's experience. Sometimes there are odd incongruencies between sound and image, or between temporal sequences. The lighting, camera angles and production design often make some elements appropriately fantastical. The production design and costuming match not only Sam's world, but other characters' worlds, as well. Not one aspect of the film seems to have gone by without close examination and artistic justification.

The music, which largely consists of Beatles tunes performed by other artists, fits the film perfectly. Sam and his friends are all a bit obsessed with the Beatles (and apparently, so were many L.A. Goal members when Nelson visited). The Beatles tunes exquisitely match the various moods of the film, and the lyrics often complement emotions and actions.

But even above all of that, I Am Sam tells a heart-wrenching story that's something of an exciting, emotional roller-coaster. There are many humorous scenes, often centered on Sam and his buddies going about the world with a kind of Winnie the Pooh-like wisdom that seems more honest and admirable than most of the film's "normal" folks. Of course, there are also many scenes that will require tissues for tears. And there's just about every emotion in between the two.

Finally, the film has a great message. Does parenting, or general personal worth, really hinge on intellectual ability and amassed knowledge? I don't think so. Parents who are very smart can have more than their share of flaws, as we see with Pfeiffer's character early on. Plenty of us had parents who were smart enough but couldn't help us with our geometry homework. Love may not be all you need, but it's definitely one of the major prerequisites.
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Powerful film!
grahamsj310 October 2002
Warning: Spoilers
I haven't been a fan of Sean Penn's since Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Since that time, nearly all his films have left me flat. In fact, I nearly didn't watch this film since he was in it. What a loss it would have been if I'd missed it! I won't go into the story line since that's been reviewed a lot by others. The story is sort of a cliché'd one and has been done before, though not as well. The story isn't this film's strength anyway - it's the acting. Rarely have I seen a film with this much powerful acting. Penn's performance as Sam is brilliant! He must have studied autistic/mentally challenged people to pull this performance off. I also want to mention how good Michele Pfeiffer was in this. Her character starts out as a hard-hearted witch and ends up being very human, thanks to her exposure to Sam. The change in her is gradual, subtle and fun to watch. Sams friends, very well played by Brad Silverman, Joseph Rosenberg, Stanley DeSantis and Doug Hutchinson are very important support characters. Laura Dern gives a stellar performance as Randy. Dakota Fanning as Lucy very nearly steals the show. This little actress has quite a career ahead of her, I hope! This film is delicately balanced, and has a good bit of humor interspersed with parts that will have even the most insensitive of you reaching for a tissue. The film has a sort of a sappy (and somewhat surprising) outcome, but by this time any other ending would have been pretty much unacceptable to most people. This movie blew me away and I gave it a 9.
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Mentally challenged single dad fights to care for daughter
mdm-111 October 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Sean Penn as a devoted father (Sam) who despite mental challenges, fights for the right to raise his child is convincing in a complete departure from his usual "bad guy" characters. Michelle Pfeiffer plays his reluctant "pro bono" elite lawyer, who eventually puts 110% into this case.

The love between Sam and his 7 year old daughter is evident in many sweet scenes (got Kleenex?), best described by a reclusive neighbor (wonderfully played by Dianne Wiest), who overcomes her hermit-like condition long enough to testify in Sam's behalf. Even the social workers who insisted on doing everything to "help the child" appear to be fighting emotions over this unusual case. The "support system", which includes several equally challenged "buddies", a very supportive employer, and many other people in the community gives evidence of our changing society, fostering inclusion and tolerance. Eventually even the prospective adoptive parents of Sam's daughter can't go on fighting against this exemplary father.

The girl playing Sam's daughter appears to be "gifted", at age 7 reading middle school material. Perhaps the "difference" between father & daughter's intelligence did not have to be in such an obvious extreme. The implication of a romantic involvement between Sam and his lawyer could have been avoided as well. The former is stretching it, but the latter is going too far. One can suspend her/his disbelief only so much! Since there are no "perfect" movies, I still consider this one pretty darn close! Highly recommended.
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SteakSalad_10125 February 2007
I Am Sam is one of, if not the best, motion picture of all time.

I Am Sam is about a retarded man named Sam (Sean Penn) who has a mental capacity of a 7-year old. He works as a server at Starbucks, is obsessed with The Beatles, and loves IHOP. After he accidentally has a daughter (Dakota Fanning) with a homeless woman who he names after the song Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. The woman leaves him, and Sam is left to care for Lucy by himself. However, when Lucy intentionally begins to hold back in school to prevent becoming smarter from her father, child protective services takes her away and Sam must fight to obtain custody. He befriends a lawyer, Rita (Michelle Pfeiffer) with a bad marriage and a son who she thinks hates her. Together, Sam and Rita fight for Lucy's custody in a heartwrenching roller coaster of tears, laughs, and the overwhelming power of human spirit.

This is all beside some of the most stunning performances I've ever seen in a film. Sean Penn is top of his game and gives an amazingly realistic performance as a disabled man without a single flaw. To this day it makes me furious he didn't win the Oscar. Dakota Fanning's premiere role is by far her greatest ever, and at only six years old opened the eyes of actresses who've been in the business for years and basically screamed into their faces "This is how acting is done." And Michelle Pfeiffer delivers a phenomenal, incredibly realistic performance that will absolutely take your breath away.

As the film progresses, you will find yourself laughing one minute, crying the next (you WILL cry no matter how mature or old you are, so make sure you have tissues), the next moment tapping your foot along to the familiar Beatles tunes found throughout the movie (even though they're covers) and the next moment simply staring at the screen not believing your eyes and ears at how emotionally powerful a film can be.

And after watching, you won't want to ever give the DVD back to Blockbuster. If you don't at least give this movie a chance, you will truly be missing out on one of the shiniest gems of modern cinema ever.
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楼市调控将因城施策 房价短期仍然将小幅上涨
vchimpanzee4 August 2005
In 'Rain Man', Dustin Hoffman gave the best portrayal I have ever seen of a mentally disturbed person, but Sean Penn came very close here. He was quite convincing but somewhat funnier. With Hoffman, I never quite knew when he was supposed to be funny, but with Penn there were many funny moments that I felt okay about laughing at. And I just had to like the character.

I've heard so many good things about Dakota Fanning, and now I see for myself. She's great.

The actors playing Sam's friends also seemed very convincing, one in particular. I didn't catch his name, but he wore glasses and I think he must have really been mentally disabled. The others could have been but might just have been acting.

MIchelle Pfeiffer was very good also, and gorgeous. And Richard Schiff was likable as the lawyer on the other side of Sam's case. In fact, I didn't see those who were against Sam as evil. They just had Lucy's best interests in mind. But I wanted Sam to win.

While it is true this may have been done before, I think this movie offered unique twists and qualities other movies didn't have, and the performances were very good.
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bob the moo11 December 2005
Having taken in a homeless woman and sleeping with her, mentally-retarded Sam finds himself a father to a baby girl. He continues his menial job at Starbucks and, with the help of neighbour Annie manages to raise an intelligent little girl in Lucy. However leading up to her seventh birthday Sam gets in trouble with the police over a simple mistake and his situation is brought to the attention of the authorities who remove Lucy from his care. Sam manages to get pro-bono support from the efficient and rushed Rita Harrison and starts a challenging process to try and get Lucy back.

It is good that Hollywood is able to put issues and ideas up on the screen like this but it is the way that it delivers these things that generally kills them. In this case it starts badly with us looking at Sam working away in a coffee shop and then coping with his new baby – it doesn't really look into this very much but just asks us to accept everything at face value. Then it gets to the court case and the unlikely twists that see Sam taken on by Rita and then sweetly stuttering and stumbling through the emotional turmoil as he tries to just reconnect to the thing he loves. It could have been an interesting look at the situation but instead it is too sickly simplistic and doesn't get to the heart of the characters – instead keeping things very superficial and slick. This is seen in everything from the writing right down to the choice of music (which is annoyingly sentimental itself). It works on this level though but it is disappointing to see such a high profile film seemingly aim for the quality of a daytime TV movie (which is where this will gradually move now that it has had its peak slot premiere).

The cast are OK but the material isn't there for them. Penn deserves credit for taking it on and doing it so convincingly and he does it well but it is hard to get past the fact that he is "doing" mentally retarded rather than playing a character. In other films you would see his role as the simplistic one but here that is left to Pfeiffer to deliver and she fluffs it terribly. Her character is awful and there is little she can do with it other than be flustered, be emotional or be professional – whatever the scene requires. Fanning is as good as ever; a bit precocious of course but generally more able than many cute kids. Wiest has little to do, while Dern has a thankless task as the stupid plot device required to produce the ending. Support from Schiff is good (aside from the film giving his character very little sympathy) and there are a few other familiar faces in there too.

Overall though this is nothing more than a starry daytime TV movie. The debate that it could've sparked never comes out and instead it is simplistic, sentimental and unconvincing. For some this level of "ahh" might suffice but it ignores the complexity of the situation and the fact that it is not as simple as the story here suggests is just rather patronising.
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sddavis6325 November 2002
I have to confess off the top that I am not and never have been a particular fan of Sean Penn. I have no specific criticism to make of him; as an actor he simply doesn't appeal to me. Because of that bias I approached this movie with low expectations. The story of a mentally handicapped man fighting for custody of his seven year old daughter sounded intriguing, but it starred Penn. But what a pleasant surprise this movie turned out to be!

Penn is actually very good in this role. He brings a realism to the character of Sam Dawson, and portrays him sensitively and with real emotion. In fact, I thought the only performance that was better than Penn's came not from Michelle Pfeiffer (who disappointed me a bit, actually) but rather from little Dakota Fanning as Sam's daughter Lucy. She seemed so natural in this role, and I would hope that we see more of her in the years to come. Pfeiffer, on the other hand, (as Sam's lawyer Rita Harrison) just didn't carry the role off that well, and even the courtroom scenes to me lacked the tension one would have expected from such an emotionally-laden issue.

The movie weakens in the last little bit, going for the sappy (and highly unrealistic) ending - unrealistic particularly in the way Lucy's foster mother (Laura Dern) ends up handling the situation.

Having said that, I still enjoyed this movie very much. It's raised my assessment of Sean Penn's acting abilities and I would recommend it to others and would watch it again.

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市场监管总局:加强中秋国庆市场价格监管 严查哄抬房租
Surecure28 June 2005
I Am Sam is one of those films that you will love for so many reasons and find infuriating at the same time. It is by far one of the best examples of acting talent across the board and evokes such levels of emotion that one is drawn deeply into the story. But, it makes a statement so one-sided and irresponsible that you cannot help but feel like you have just eaten a huge meal of empty calories by the time it is done.

The basic premise behind the film is that love is all that one needs in order to raise a child. It does so by showing Sean Penn's character -- a mentally handicapped man -- trying to raise his daughter on his own and having various officials coming down on him to "take his daughter away from him". It is a sad reality that is faced by some mentally handicapped parents, and one can't help but feel sorry for the situation.

Personally, I have a hard time accepting a film that ignores the reality of severely mentally handicapped caregivers. While they are indeed fully capable of giving as much love as anyone else, it is an unfortunate truth that some lack the mental facilities to properly raise children. I personally knew a mentally disabled person whose mental age was beyond that demonstrated by the character of Sam, and she had a difficult time raising a cat without injuring it regularly. Though she was repeatedly told by her veterinarian what she needed to do, she simply could not keep up to the ever changing demands of raising a living creature.

To put it in perspective, imagine Sean Penn replaced by Haley Joel Osment (at his age in the Sixth Sense) and having him take care of Dakota Fanning's character. In fact, that is still an over-exaggeration because Haley's mental age would still have been more than that of the character of Sam. Because we see Sean Penn physically as an adult, we don't question his abilities and we are more likely to feel sorry for him. But one has to look at the mental facilities and give it a likely comparison. We would never leave a 6 year old girl in the care of an 8 year old boy. In the same way, we can't automatically give the care of a 6 year old girl to a physically mature man with the mental facilities of a 8 year old.

While there cannot be a perfect parallel between all situations, certainly there must be some semblance of logic applied instead of just presenting heart-tugging sentiment such as what this film prefers to present. I find it irresponsible of the filmmakers to simply ignore the reality of the situation in order for it to hit home emotionally alone.

The film could have been equally effective had they simply acknowledged the fact that Sam really did not have the ability to take care of his daughter on his own and explored the emotional consequences of the situation he finds himself. It is tragic, but it is a fact that must be dealt with. And for the creators of this film to suggest the only gauge to deal with this situation is to ask how sorry you feel for the main character is condescending at best.

Beneath the emotional surface and the performances, this film is intellectually empty. A movie for the heart, not for the mind.
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kit savage23 April 2004
I wanted to like this movie- ( I have a brother who is mentally handicapped) but after watching it I felt it had tried to hard to manipulate my emotions in such an obvious way. First, Sam (Sean Penn) is surrounded by his inner circle of friends who are also mentally handicapped and who come across much more believable, probably because they are in real life. So Sean Penn's character 'Sam' stands out against his group of friends like a fish out of water, trying to get in every speech and facial nuance that says 'hello I'm retarded'. (Much like Nic Cage's depiction of O.C.D.'s in Matchstick Men) Sam's daughter Lucy is a cute little girl, it's hard not to like her. But she's just a little too 'Hollywood cute'. Michelle Pheiffer over-acts, first as her 'I am a beautiful female lawyer who has what it takes to win a case' to the understanding sensitive pro-bono attorney who makes Sam's case (to regain custody of Lucy) her exclusive campaign, all the while having to constantly push her hair out of her face in order to impart the facts of family court to Sam.

By the end of the film, Sam seems to have gotten smarter, his verbal skills are quicker and it seems his thinking is faster. And his lawyer has predictably learned a lot of life lessons from helping Sam.

Did anyone else think he 'borrowed' the exact same clothing from Dustin Hoffman's character Raymond in Rainman? Is is an unspoken rule that all mentally handicap men must dress in khaki jackets and pants that are 2 inches to short with white socks?
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liquiddesires1922 September 2012
If you're looking for a tear-jerking, emotion-provoking melodrama, this is your first on the list. I am Sam is a sensational dramatic piece that will leave you with tears to wipe. In the film, Sam Dawson (Sean Penn) is a mentally challenged single father who's left by, as what it seems, a one night stand homeless woman to raise his daughter Lucy(Dakota Fanning). Despite of being a mentally retarded person, Sam has a job working in a local Starbucks coffee store and has got friends with some what equal mental capacity. He's a sweet, good-natured, and loving father to Lucy that is equally attached to him.

Unfortunately, a sordid twist of fate takes place in their paradise, at Lucy's 7th birthday a social worker believes that Sam, having the mental capacity of a 7-year-old, can't raise his child that is outgrowing him. Lucy is taken to a foster care temporarily as her father, along with the help of his mentally challenged friends, tries to find a high-profile attorney that can help him get his child back.

After multiple attempts, Sam manages to appoint an attorney (Michelle Pfeiffer) who only takes the job at first as a dare. Rita Harrison (Michelle Pfeiffer) is a successful busy lawyer that comes home to a cheating man and a son who hates her, through the movie Sam and Rita develop a friendly relationship which is an eye-opening for Rita to value her family and be more involved in her son's life. Sam goes through a legal battle to retain custody of Lucy, aided by his mentally challenged friends, his agoraphobic neighbor Annie Cassell (Diana Wiest), and his high profile determined lawyer (Michelle Pfeiffer).

The film is enriched with major cast members that in turn give out one of their best performances in their career life. Most noticeably, Sean Penn who initially visited L.A. Goal, a center in Los Angeles for mentally handicapped persons as groundwork to his role. I was truly impressed with Sean Penn's performance on the set of I Am Sam and how well he managed his role and his dedication to it as he freely indulged in the character of Sam Dawson. For anyone who has Sean Penn as a favourite actor, it's a must watch as it is easily his one of many remarkable performance and the stepping stone of his career. As for Michelle Pfeiffer, I wouldn't expect any other actress to perform the role of Rita Harrison as beautifully good as Michelle did. It's a perfect fit to her character and she accurately embodied the character of Rita that possesses an exhausted ill-tempered work driven nature. Least but not last, the amazing Dakota Fanning did a remarkable role on the set, and by far one of her best performances as a child.

The movie is Beatles-themed as we first understand Sam's character as an impressive Beatles-knowledgeable person despite being retarded. He then names his child Lucy Diamond inspired from the Beatles song "Lucy in the Diamond Sky". As a matter of fact, Michelle Pfeiffer's character is named after the song "Lovely Rita" by the Beatles and her surname is that of a Beatles member, George Harrison and if you noticed in the film, Rita Harrison(Michelle Pfeiffer) points that George Harrison was her favourite Beatle. In addition, the background music mainly consists of Beatles music and other Beatles songs covered by various artists for certain rights.

The film is sweeping in its beauty, director Jessie Nelson did a great job in portraying her idea of "I Am Sam" into an absolutely wonderful movie especially after a 7 years of film directing drought. The cinematography is mostly hand-held work as the Camera is always close by to Sam for the obvious reason of picturing Sam's movement in a subjective sense allowing the viewer to actually feel with the character and pensively translate his actions. It's a closer look to the mentally handicapped people's world, that every act of their doing has an essence and that they are truly remarkable in their own "special" way.

Lastly, should a intellectual deficiency restrain one from raising his own child? We've all had a grandma or grandma that despite of their intelligence in life aspects, had difficulty in helping their kids with their Geometry homework but does that alone hinder the child from having a well educated natural life? The movie has a great message, that when it comes to parenting, love is the most important thing and if that is present then it most certainly paves the way to a healthy parent-child relationship.
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love is all you need
Lady_Targaryen9 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
When I saw in television announcing about the story of ''I Am Sam'', I didn't think twice and got the DVD of this movie to watch. First of all, Sean Penn's performance is awesome! He really look a mentally challenged person in all his acts and ways to move and talk! Michelle Pfeiffer also has a great performance and is very beautiful in this movie as Sam's lawyer Rita Harrison.

Sam Dawson is a mentally retarded man, who has the same capacity of a 7 year-old child..He works at a Starbucks, loves the Beatles( his favorite band) and one day has a normal daughter with a homeless woman, who abandons him and her daughter when she has the chance. Sam takes care of his daughter, who he gives the name Lucy Diamond, with the help of his friends, specially Annie.( a piano teacher who is his neighbour) But time is passing, and when Lucy reaches 7 years old she understands her father is not *normal* and intentionally tries not to be smarter than him,what makes her have problems in school. The Social service takes her away to another family, and Sam needs the help of a lawyer to win the case. That's where Rita Harrison enters, and she will not only help Sam, but learn great values with him.

aka "Uma Lição de Amor" - Brazil
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Rod-8821 January 2002
This movie has flaws, but this movie touched me. Maybe its because I'm a father of a six year-old girl, but I was moved by the love between father and daughter, Sam and Lucy. Sean Penn plays Sam, a mentally challenged man that instantly becomes a single parent, when the mother immediately abandons them when they leave the hospital. He some how raises her with help from a neighbor, played by Diane Wiest. On her eighth birthday, child protective services take her away from Sam. It has become apparent that Lucy surpassed her father in intelligence, and she is struggling to cope with classmates and friends making fun of Sam. Can Sam adequately care for Lucy? The whole time I was watching, the answer was, no. This is where the movie fails. It did not convince me that this mentally challenged man that could not even eat at a Kip's Big Boy without freaking out because they did not have French pancakes, could raise this child by himself.

I am sure that Sean Penn's will get some accolades for his performance. However, I felt that I had seen it before, and I had seen it done better. He was adequate in the role, but Leonardo DiCaprio did it better in `What's Eating Gilbert Grape', and I even think that Mickey Rooney did it better in `Bill'. Penn's downfall could have been the character's lack of dept. Maybe if we had seen his childhood, his relationship with his mother, or the relationship with Lucy's mother, it would have created a more believable role. He does do well to show his love for Lucy. The chemistry between Lucy and Sam is touching. You had better take some tissue.

The newcomer, Dakota Fanning, as Lucy, was wonderful. Lucy is cute and loveable. She is the only thing right in Sam's life. She is hope. She is beautiful. She is everything to Sam. When she is taken away, your heart will break.

Michelle Pfeiffer, as Rita the lawyer, was a pleasant surprise. Rita is so vain that she takes Sam's case just to save face in front of her colleagues. She is too busy, even for her own family. All she cares about is winning. She is heartless. However, she blossoms during the movie. Sam opens her eyes. She is like the butterfly that Lucy does a report on in school. She is the true hero of the movie.

The music in the movie was great. If you are a fan of the Beatles, which most everyone is (even if you may not realize it), you will appreciate this movie. The Beatles' songs convey a feeling of safety and comfort. The songs are familiar and soothing. In Sam's chaotic world, the Beatles come through with a calming effect. One of my all time favorite songs, Across the Universe, is used as well.

Overall, I think this movie comes through with heartfelt messages. However, you will have to suspend belief and let yourself go with it. Laura Dern also pops up with an excellent performance. The final scenes were fresh and unexpected. Thank God this movie did not stay in the courtroom!

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ReviewingRodent4 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Skepticism is a wise approach toward a film whose central message is that society need not concern itself with the safety or well being of children raised by severely disabled adults.

Sam is a single father whose mental age is supposed to be less than an eight-year-old child, yet he holds a full time job that pays for a two bedroom apartment which he keeps cleaner and better decorated than the average suburban home.

In other words, despite a suite of tics and speech impediments performed by the talented Sean Penn, the Hollywood treatment transforms a person who would not be able to support himself in the real world into a middle class parent. The neighbor is even a Juilliard graduate who gives free piano lessons.

The lack of realism here is stunning: does a job sweeping floors at Starbucks really pay for a decent apartment in any major city? Of course it doesn't. People with the mental age of grade school children don't make competent housekeepers either: they end up with dwellings full of vermin, they stack newspapers next to oily rags because they don't know any better, they mix the wrong household chemicals with toxic results. In the real world a child whose parent has a mental disability is more likely to get singled out by pedophiles or schoolyard buddies than by a kindly agoraphobic pianist. Reality can be ugly; this is why child protection agencies exist.

The plot of this fiction then challenges whether such a person should keep custody of his child. With the dice weighted like this, how much of a mystery could the outcome be?

In one scene in particular Michelle Pfeiffer, who plays Sam's lawyer in his defense against Child Protective Services, loses her temper for a moment at her own children and then wonders whether she is so different from Sam? Yes of course she is different because a normal parent is capable of learning from his or her mistakes but a mentally impaired parent lacks that learning curve.

There is no doubting the skill of the cast in their profession and Dakota Fanning is a darling. The writing goes as far as it can toward making this premise plausible, which in a different sort of film could be harmless. We all know, for example, that zombies can't really exist. Yet it can be thrilling for two hours to pretend that they do. This film is far more toxic because it attempts to depict a real world problem, and then it encourages all the rationalizations that leave helpless children in unsafe situations. The film's emotional arc shifts to how much Sam wants to be a parent--rather than whether he is competent at it. That is exactly where the focus in child safety cases should never be.
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1月广东新增贷款同比再创历史新高 民企贷款余额突破4万亿
grantss12 April 2015
Great, incredibly moving movie. Starts off slowly, and confusingly, but gets better and better, and more emotional, as it goes on. Ending feels a bit rushed, but that would be the only criticism.

Sean Penn gives a superb performance as the mentally challenged Sam. Deserved his Oscar nomination and very unlucky to miss out in the end (went to Denzel Washington for Training Day). Solid support from Michelle Pfeiffer as the tough-as-nails lawyer. Dakota Fanning is great as Lucy, Sam's daughter.

Aided by a great soundtrack, consisting of covers of Beatles songs by various artists. Artists include Ben Harper, Eddie Vedder, The Black Crowes, Cheryl Crow, Rufus Wainwright and Ben Folds.
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2016年房价是否会降价 降到老百姓买得起?
loraine220 January 2002
Well, that was not the greatest movie to spend six-fifty on. In the beginning, I bit my lip with frustration. Toward the middle, I was groaning inwardly. By the end, I sat in my seat filled with shock, ranting to my friends and anyone else who would listen.

Obviously, not enough research went into this film. Sam (Sean Penn) was an unrealistic character. The characters explained that he had autistic tendencies and was retarded. No. I have dealt intimately with autism (living with someone who has it, working at a daycare for children with it, going to preschool in a class with well over half people with disabilities) for over sixteen years, and I can tell you that Sam is well off his marker. He is far too high functioning for some of his low functioning traits. In other words, he becomes incredibly capable when the plotline requires it, then appears to be quite low functioning at other times.

He knows the Beatles like the back of his hand. Okay. I can go for that. But how does he apply the songs and life stories to and draw complex connections from the Beatles to his own life? How can he come up with these life lessons for his daughter and profound statements for just the right time ("Always set your dreams high, Lucy." "You need to leave your husband." "You don't know what it's like when you try and you try and you try, and you never get there!")? So he is high functioning enough to do all that, but he can't make a drink at Starbucks after many years there? He can't understand concepts simpler than the profound exclamations he makes?

Some of the other disabled people in the movie were well done. However, the man who the filmmakers apparently wanted to appear to have autism (the one who kept rattling off movies and their release dates) was a cheap Rain Man rip off but plausible. The largest problem with him however, the thing that made me not believe in him, was that he seemed capable of analyzing the characters in the movies of which he spoke. While this only happened once or twice, it was enough to cause me frustration.

Also, there was very little to no background given. How did Sam have a baby? How did he hook up with a woman, hooker or not? How did he raise a child alone (except for the help of a woman who never leaves home) for seven years? How did he know what diapers to buy? How, how, how? How did all of these plot holes sneak by? This only served to confuse viewers and give an unstable view of Sam's abilities. More "hows" were generated than answers.

The best thing to come out of this movie was Dakota Fanning (Lucy, Sam's daughter). She was the most believable character, and seemed to innately know how to act and react. Laura Dern (Randy, foster mother) was also fantastic. She obviously just wanted the best for little Lucy. Sean Penn did the best he knew how for Sam, but it just wasn't up to par. With a script that had adequate research, a well-defined character with a well-defined disability, and some more research on his part, he would have fared much better.

Many think this is "just a movie" and doesn't deserve harsh criticism, but face it, this is what the general public sees of disabilities. This is what the average person thinks about people with autism. They'll get their education about disabilities from movies like this one. And what they're seeing is a false image. I'm so sick of seeing autism misrepresented in cinema.

If you want to see a good drama that deals with disabilities, Rain Man is the best. Dustin Hoffman's portrayal of autistic savant Raymond is dead on-I believed that he was autistic. The next best is What's Eating Gilbert Grape?. Leonardo DiCaprio does an excellent job with his autistic character Arnie, a completely unrecognizable change from the DiCaprio in Titanic or Romeo and Juliet. If you do want to watch I Am Sam, knock yourself out. Just don't waste any of your time believing it.
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美最大家具电商Wayfair成功上市 估值23.2亿美元
mikestollov15 October 2003
This is one of the worst movies I've ever seen. With relentless emotional manipulation piled on top of wooden acting & a dreadful script. See how bad the world treats Sam. See how good this simpleton is to his daughter. How pure his love, how corrupt & selfish the "normal" people are. Blah blah blah. Pass me that empty popcorn bag, I'm gonna hurl.

It isn't that the story hasn't got a point, but that it is horrificaly overplayed, the message being delivered in industrial amounts. It's like expecting a teaspoon of sugar in your coffee & getting 2lbs of sacharrine dumped in it instead.

The clumsy manipulation isn't limited to the script, with wooden, cliched characterization & oh so obvious directorial & cinemagraphic tricks. Notice how the scenes are technicolor when Sam is with his daughter, but have a cold, blue, almost monochrome color during the court scenes. Sublety seems

not to be this film's strong point & wherever there is a chance to drive a point home with a sledgehammer the opportunity is taken to do so with obvious enthusiasm.

Michele Pfiefer is normally watchable, but this has to be her first role where I couldn't bear to look. She does her best with the part, but ultimately the clunking story & dialogue leave her trying to shine while carrying a dead albatross round her neck. God only knows why she agreed to add this turkey to her resume. Maybe it seemed a good idea at the time. Maybe it simply paid well & the rent on her mansion was due.

Sean Penn is simply diabolically bad, unconvincing & puke inducing as Sam. Laura Dearn ambles through looking like she's smelt something bad. The rest of the cast simply wallow around, subsumed by the crushing sentimentality.

This whole film stinks. The one area where there is some very limited relief is the soundtrack, where Beatles tunes are played. Even here this is spoiled, for a start they're all pretty sub standard covers by other bands & even then we only get snatches.

When you consider how many great film ideas never get anywhere you have to wonder just how this pile of poop ever got onto the screen. I gave it a "1" on the IMDB voting, but I would have given it a big, fat zero if I could have.
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欧司朗提出三大支柱战略细节 聚焦成本优势
nunombf22 September 2018
This film it's a masterpiece! The actors are amazing and the history envolve me the begining to the end. I recommend to all audiences except people that don't like to cry ehehe
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东莞家具制造企业亏损面近两成 企业纷纷试水互联网+
Jerique24 July 2010
In an eye opening performance, Sean Penn plays mentally challenged Sam. It was the 2001 Academy Awards when I began to doubt the Oscars because Sean Penn was robbed of the Best Actor category. I really believed at the time, that Sean Penn was mentally challenged. He was way more deserving of the award than Denzel.

This is one film that can tug your heart strings and have your eyes flooded with tears. It's powered by the performances of Sean Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer and Dakota Fanning. Dakota has an innate ability to use her big beautiful eyes to induce crying. Michelle can steal a moment from Sean in any scene with her beautifully delivered words.

The story of fighting for custody of his daughter is one for all ages and it's a tragic story to be told but can captivate any audience and especially all mothers and fathers out there. When you finish watching, you'll have red eyes from wiping away those tears. You'll also be in a mood to start watching more movies containing Sean Penn.

If you've never seen a Sean Penn film before this, you'll believe that he is truly handicapped. Sean Penn's commitment to this role is accounted for six months of research on mentally challenged people. I'm not knocking Denzel Washington as an actor, as he's supremely talented. But Sean Penn has an uncanny ability to make you believe he is not playing a character of Sam, but is the character of Sam.

The character of Sam, is not inspiring because he is handicapped. It's due to how loving he is and how much fighting he does to get his daughter back and make her happy that makes Sam inspiring. Kids can watch this movie, and parents will enjoy it most of all. It's not a movie that should be missed by anyone. There's no reason to dislike, I Am Sam.
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And I Am Horrified
F. Mt. Pleasant4 January 2002
This movie is so insulting in its depiction of mentally handicapped people it makes "The Other Sister" look like a lovingly crafted documentary about Down's syndrome. Aren't retarded people cute? Aren't they earnest? Why... they're almost like us real people!

Sean Penn plays a sweet autistic/retarded man who has somehow fathered a child (when and how and with whom? never really explained) and Michelle Pfeiffer plays the cliched overworked, no-time-for-her-family, badly-needs-to-learn-what's-important-in-life-from-a-retarded-person career woman lawyer who is shamed into defending Penn's character in court when he is threatened with having his daughter taken away from him. It goes on forever, for no reason. Top it all off with one of those child actors who speaks as if she's forty-five years old playing the daughter, and you're all set to run at the screen with a machete. Penn and Pfeiffer surely must have thought they were earning their places in Heaven when they signed on to overact in this condescending, absurd, overwrought trash. Or maybe they did it to win prizes. If there is a God, they will be denied anything shiny for their collective hubris.

I don't want to overstate how offensive this thing is, but seeing this movie is tantamount to saying, "I hate retarded people".
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mrcairo4218 February 2002
Warning: Spoilers
**SPOILERS (I think) **

and it was so much less. I wish all of the folks who were moved and touched by this could see a good movie about a similar topic (Dominick and Eugene, Rain Man). The first half hour was the closest I've ever come to walking out of a theater - only the appearance of Dakota Fanning, who was fantastic, made this at all bearable. Sean Penn went beyond caricature, and drifted into actual offensiveness.

And no, I don't dislike the "feel-good" movie genre. But if I did, it wouldn't be relevant, because this isn't one. The good guys didn't win here - they lost! There is _no way_ Sam should have been allowed to raise a child. Visit yes, raise no - it would have been endangerment from the beginning.

Just to make things worse, the movie has 60 minutes of plot spread out over 2 and a half hours. Why wasn't this just a bad Touched by an Angel episode, instead of a truly awful movie?
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eric2620039 June 2014
Warning: Spoilers
After watching "I Am Sam", I cannot say that I did not leave the theater with tears in my eyes while having a more better view of the life that we live in whether good or bad.

Under the careful direction by Jessie Nelson ("Corrina, Corrina") shows an accurate portrayal which has its fair share of excruciating cringing moments. I will not elucidate too much on the plot points, but the realism in this film is about as good as it gets. I understand that there are a sporadic few mentally challenged people who are able to conceive, let alone have to go through the complicated initiative to raising a child single-handedly. But then again, there are many non-handicapped people who are not adept to raising offspring. But in this day and age of unpredictability, the situation depicted where the dominating factor gets the call to determine what's best for the welfare of the child who is unfortunately caught in the middle.

Sean Penn who has played a cornucopia of performances over the the last 30 plus years plays the role of the titular character Sam Dawson, a loving caring, father and Beatles aficionado, is raising his seven year old daughter Lucy Diamond (Dakota Fanning). Penn played his role splendidly, almost up there with other mentally challenged characters like Raymond Babbitt (Dustin Hoffman), Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) and Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson). Many performers though have attempted to play mentally disabled individuals, but often times failed. Pen succeeds in keeping our interest through and he shows that even the most underfed minds are still humans and that nurturing a child is not rocket science all you need is loving heart and the will to step up deserves some kind of credibility (think of all those deadbeat dads who abandon their kids and tell me who's incapable of rearing kids).

Lovely Rita Harrison Williams (Michelle Pfeiffer) is a big-shot Civil Dispute Lawyer is not up to par with the roles she's played in the past, but still succeeds to make this movie all the more special. She's very important in providing the message that not all the money in the world, all the riches of our universe and all the fame that comes with it can never usurp the love of a child. The message is pretty obvious and it is something we can all take into deep thought.

If there is one thing that really irks me about this movie was the very grim portrayal of the Social Service Department as an unmerciful group of corporate shrills who care nothing more then to take advantage to the easily vulnerable and to deprive him of the one person in this world he truly cares about and maybe the only person who cares about him. I get frustrated every time I see their smug faces, but I guess every story needs an antagonist/s. I guess we've all had those snooping neighbours who calling Social Services for reasons justified or unjustified. And yes Social Services will always be scorned for getting involved in affairs that is not of their concern. And have built a solid reputation of breaking up families either for better or for worst, either way it is 90% of the time negative.

This is truly a very excellent and deserves special attention one must reconsider. The theme of "I Am Sam" will have you in laughter and tears, but will tug at your heartstrings the whole way through. With legions of fan support of Sam's other mentally blocked friends and an agoraphobic neighbour played by Dianne West, it illustrates that it's better to be loved by simple-mind rather than not being loved at all.
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