7.6/10
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438 user 129 critic

I Am Sam (2001)

PG-13 | | Drama | 25 January 2002 (USA)
A mentally handicapped 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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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 10 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:

Yo soy Sam  »

Box Office

Budget:

$22,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$25,993 (USA) (4 January 2002)

Gross:

$40,270,895 (USA) (12 April 2002)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Many lines or actions by Sean Penn's character, Sam, are improvised; for example, the end of the scene at the new restaurant where Sam shouts, "Ask Big Bob!" or the dog scene. The producers liked many of these improvised scenes much better than the original book. See more »

Goofs

Credits list "starbucks barrister" instead of "barista". See more »

Quotes

Rita: Home.
Phone Voice: Dialing office.
Rita: HOME!
Phone Voice: Dialing office.
Rita: HOME, GODDAMN IT!
Phone Voice: Dialing Dr. Sloan.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 74th Annual Academy Awards (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Mother Nature's Son
Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney
Performed by Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow appears courtesy of A&M Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Greatest Film I've Ever Seen
25 February 2007 | by (New Jersey, USA) – See all my reviews

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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