Set in South Carolina in 1964, this is the tale of Lily Owens, a 14 year-old girl who is haunted by the memory of her late mother. To escape her lonely life and troubled relationship with ... See full summary »
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Mentally challenged single dad fights to care for daughter
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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