An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
Sam Dawson has the mental capacity of a 7-year-old. He works at a Starbucks and is obsessed with the Beatles. He has a daughter with a homeless woman; she abandons them as soon as they leave the hospital. He names his daughter Lucy Diamond (after the Beatles song), and raises her. But as she reaches age 7 herself, Sam's limitations start to become a problem at school; she's intentionally holding back to avoid looking smarter than him. The authorities take her away, and Sam shames high-priced lawyer Rita Harrison into taking his case pro bono. In the process, he teaches her a great deal about love, and whether it's really all you need. Written by
Jon Reeves <email@example.com>
As preparation for his role, Sean Penn visited L.A. Goal, a center in Los Angeles for Mentally Handicapped persons. See more »
In the first courtroom scene, the judge asks to see Sam back in court on January 5th, supposedly a month after that day. However, the board of cases for the day says the date is August 20th. See more »
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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