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I Am Sam (2001)

 -  Drama  -  25 January 2002 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 101,375 users   Metascore: 28/100
Reviews: 422 user | 129 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

A mentally retarded man fights for custody of his 7-year-old daughter, and in the process teaches his cold-hearted lawyer the value of love and family.

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Title: I Am Sam (2001)

I Am Sam (2001) on IMDb 7.6/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Brad Silverman ...
Brad (as Brad Allan Silverman)
Joseph Rosenberg ...
Joe
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Lily
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Judge Philip McNeily
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Miss Wright
Mason Lucero ...
Conner Rhodes
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Storyline

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 <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

love is all you need

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 January 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

I Am Sam  »

Box Office

Budget:

$22,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£151,079 (UK) (10 May 2002)

Gross:

£456,635 (UK) (24 May 2002)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Michelle Pfeiffer took on the female lead because she was friends with the film's writer and director Jessie Nelson, who had co-wrote the screenplay to the actress' earlier film The Story of Us(1999) and because she wanted the chance to work with Sean Penn. See more »

Goofs

In the very beginning shot, when Sam is sorting sugar packets in the holders, he puts the brown "raw sugar" packets in front. When he is shown setting the holders on the tables, the brown packets are in the middle. See more »

Quotes

Rita: Sam, I can go at least another nine rounds, but you got to let me in.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Drew Barrymore/Lily Allen (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm Looking through You
Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney
Performed by The Wallflowers
The Wallflowers appear courtesy of Interscope Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

OVERALL A TOUCHING FILM WITH FLAWS
21 January 2002 | by (Dallas TX) – See all my reviews

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!

7/10


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