7.6/10
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446 user 121 critic

I Am Sam (2001)

PG-13 | | Drama | 25 January 2002 (USA)
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ON DISC
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.

Director:

Jessie Nelson
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Popularity
3,729 ( 130)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sean Penn ... Sam Dawson
Michelle Pfeiffer ... Rita
Dakota Fanning ... Lucy
Dianne Wiest ... Annie
Loretta Devine ... Margaret Calgrove
Richard Schiff ... Turner
Laura Dern ... Randy Carpenter
Brad Silverman Brad Silverman ... Brad (as Brad Allan Silverman)
Joseph Rosenberg Joseph Rosenberg ... Joe
Stanley DeSantis ... Robert
Doug Hutchison ... Ifty
Rosalind Chao ... Lily
Ken Jenkins ... Judge McNeily
Wendy Phillips ... Miss Wright
Mason Lucero 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Warner Bros.

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 January 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Yo soy Sam See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$22,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$67,418, 30 December 2001, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$40,311,852

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$97,818,139
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Dakota Fanning's character is named Lucy Diamond from The Beatles song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." Michelle Pfeiffer's character's name is Rita Harrison, from the song "Lovely Rita," and the last name of Beatles member George Harrison. Sam, Lucy, and Sam's friends walking across the street with the balloons is a tribute to the case cover of "Abbey Road." Sean Penn wanted the soundtrack to be all Beatles music but was unable to get the rights, so he asked various artists to cover the Beatles songs he wanted to use. And in order for the re-recorded music to fit into the movie, each of the artists had to use the same tempo as the original Beatles songs. See more »

Goofs

In the first courtroom scene, the judge asks to see Sam back in court on January 5th, supposedly a month after that day. However, the board of cases for the day says the date is August 20th. See more »

Quotes

Sam: You've grown.
Lucy: Have I?
Sam: Yeah, 'cause your ears are bigger and your eyes are older.
See more »

Connections

Features Johnny Bravo (1997) 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
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User Reviews

 
Mentally challenged single dad fights to care for daughter
1 October 2004 | by mdm-11See all my reviews

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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