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I Am Sam (2001)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  25 January 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 117,022 users   Metascore: 28/100
Reviews: 431 user | 129 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

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


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


love is all you need



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

25 January 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Yo soy Sam  »

Box Office


$22,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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


£456,635 (UK) (24 May 2002)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Michelle Pfeiffer took on the female lead because she was friends with the film's writer and director Jessie Nelson, who had co-written 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 »


When Annie is teaching Sam when to feed Lucy and they are talking about what "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is about, Annie says "But John Lennon said, it was about a friend of his son Julian Lennon's from school - Lucy O'Connell". The real girl's name was "Lucy O'Donnell". See more »


Sam: Lucy doesn't need me anymore. She has a new family now... and she doesn't need me anymore.
Rita: Is that what she said?
Sam: It's because I know that. Because I just know that.
Rita: Well. That's the first stupid thing I've ever heard you say.
See more »


Features Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) See more »


Across the Universe
Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney
Performed by Rufus Wainwright
Rufus Wainwright appears courtesy of Dreamworks Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Great film, but hard to watch at times
28 August 2002 | by (Chicago) – See all my reviews

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.

91 of 103 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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