(2001)

Critic Reviews

28

Metascore

Based on 33 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
75
Not about the justice or injustice of the legal system. Rather it's about the tragedy of Sam's predicament.
70
A warm, hard-to-resist story.
63
Chicago Tribune
The role sounds like a sentimental trap, but Penn doesn't fall into it. It's a sensational performance, and he illumines a movie that sometimes seems in danger of descending into modish Hollywood political correctness.
50
Charlotte Observer
The cancer of dishonesty begins to grow half an hour into the film, and it riddles the picture by the end.
50
Slate
Just don't believe the anti-hype. There are lots of reasons to have a good cry these days -- here's a nice, warm place to get squeezed.
40
Time
As the director of this noble weepie, Nelson so overuses visual tricks -- zooms, zip pans and multiple perspectives on a simple scene -- that she turns the viewer into an exasperated parent; this is a directorial style in need of a spanking.
40
L.A. Weekly
By-the-numbers Oscar bait -- but Penn does manage, against such odds, to make us see Sam as a person, not a performance.
30
Rolling Stone
Contrived, manipulative and shamelessly sentimental, this film is notable for the courageous reach of Sean Penn, who gives a bold, heartfelt performance.
25
New York Daily News
It's a difficult issue, one that is not well served by a hollow confection like I Am Sam.
0
Salon.com
Penn's portrayal strikes me as equally insensitive. It's the nightmare performance of 2001.

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