I Am Sam 2001 (2001) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: 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. Runtime: 132 mins Release Date: 28 Dec 2001
A Truly wonderful film that left you thinking and feeling for hours after walking out of the cinema.Michelle Pfeiffer is exact in her portrayal of the smart, rich, no-nonsense lawyer who realises how empty her luxurious and successful life is. As always she delivers an outstanding performance and reminds us of just how excellent and beautiful an actress she is.Sean Penn is so believable that you forget that he doesn't actually have anything wrong with him...he captures every emotion perfectly and instills all of that emotion in the audience. Penn is highly under rated in the world that is <more>
movies, as he shows with this Oscar potential performance.The young actress who plays his daughter is amazingly mature in her acting, whilst always managing to capture the innocence of her youthfullness. On top of all that she is gorgeous. The combination of three excellent main actors combined with the supporting actors and the genuine theme and style of the film makes I am Sam an excellent and must see film. Truly Inspiring.
I know that title isn't very descriptive, but all I could say for awhile after watching I Am Sam was, "Wow!" Although that's a positive endorsement of the film--it's rare that a film has me basically speechless afterward I usually suffer from logorrhea, which sounds close enough to diarrhea that you could call it verbal flatulence instead if you like --it turned out to be quite a problem, because we went to dinner right afterward and I had to give a lecture. I believe I was served some kind of raw beef, and I have an exorbitant dry cleaning bill from the tomatoes and <more>
rotten eggs.But I won't bill director/co-writer Jessie Nelson, because it's not her fault that her film is so powerful and so stunningly constructed that it made me monosyllabic. I can only blame myself for putting off watching her work for so long.I Am Sam begins with Sam Dawson Sean Penn at his job. He lives in Santa Monica and works at Starbucks. We can see that he's mentally retarded. He appears slightly autistic. Because of this, he's given only menial tasks to do. Suddenly, his boss tells him that he has to go. We see Sam running through the streets, catching buses and so on to end up at a hospital. A woman is in labor and it turns out that he's the father, but she wants nothing to do with him afterward--apparently, it was something like a one night stand. She abandons him with the baby. Aided by a quartet of developmentally disabled friends and his agoraphobic neighbor, Annie Cassell Dianne Wiest , we see Sam doing his best to raise the girl, Lucy Diamond Dawson eventually played by Dakota Fanning --so named because Sam is a big Beatles fan. At least until he is "accidentally arrested". Government officials question his ability to raise his daughter, and I Am Sam becomes the tale of Sam's legal battle to retain custody of Lucy, aided by high profile lawyer Rita Harrison Michelle Pfeiffer .I Am Sam will likely make you say, "Wow!" afterward because it is a masterpiece on every artistic and technical level.All of the major cast members give one of the best performances of their careers, and many of these actors have had a number of artistic triumphs on their résumés. Sean Penn is completely natural and believable as a developmentally disabled man. Two of the men playing his friends really were developmentally disabled, having been found at L.A. Goal, a non-profit agency dedicated to helping such people through a variety of programs, and it's next to impossible to tell them apart from the other actors. Nelson and her co-writer, Kristine Johnson, spent a lot of time at L.A. Goal doing research, as did Penn. Pfeiffer perfectly executes a complex character who has to undergo a number of far reaching transformations and even a breakdown of sorts. As for Fanning, I haven't seen her in a film yet where she didn't threaten to steal the whole thing from her senior, much more experienced colleagues, and during the filming of I Am Sam she was only 6 or 7. Wiest, Richard Schiff, Laura Dern and others also turn in very complex performances that convey characters with deep, multifaceted histories, despite their relatively little screen time.Nelson approaches the film with a number of unusual artistic and technical angles that all work wonderfully. The cinematography is mostly hand-held work. Unlike similar attempts in films such as Lars Von Trier's Dogville 2003 , the hand-held work never feels affected or intrusive here--it's completely "organic". The most common purpose of the unusual cinematography is to give the viewer almost a subjective sense of what it's like to be Sam, to experience the world in the way he does. Cinematographer Elliot Davis moves his camera in a way closely mirrored with Sean Penn's movements. There's an additional emotional symbolism. When Sam is feeling agitated, the camera-work is agitated. Likewise when Sam is confused, pensive, and so on. Davis shoots from a lot of unusual angles. All of them work.Nelson also has the editing, lighting and production design match the aesthetic of the cinematography. The editing is sometimes very choppy, but always feels "natural", just right for conveying Sam's experience. Sometimes there are odd incongruencies between sound and image, or between temporal sequences. The lighting, camera angles and production design often make some elements appropriately fantastical. The production design and costuming match not only Sam's world, but other characters' worlds, as well. Not one aspect of the film seems to have gone by without close examination and artistic justification.The music, which largely consists of Beatles tunes performed by other artists, fits the film perfectly. Sam and his friends are all a bit obsessed with the Beatles and apparently, so were many L.A. Goal members when Nelson visited . The Beatles tunes exquisitely match the various moods of the film, and the lyrics often complement emotions and actions.But even above all of that, I Am Sam tells a heart-wrenching story that's something of an exciting, emotional roller-coaster. There are many humorous scenes, often centered on Sam and his buddies going about the world with a kind of Winnie the Pooh-like wisdom that seems more honest and admirable than most of the film's "normal" folks. Of course, there are also many scenes that will require tissues for tears. And there's just about every emotion in between the two.Finally, the film has a great message. Does parenting, or general personal worth, really hinge on intellectual ability and amassed knowledge? I don't think so. Parents who are very smart can have more than their share of flaws, as we see with Pfeiffer's character early on. Plenty of us had parents who were smart enough but couldn't help us with our geometry homework. Love may not be all you need, but it's definitely one of the major prerequisites.
The Greatest Film I've Ever Seen (by SteakSalad_101)
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 <more>
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.
I don't feel so tough after this one ... (by tufftexan)
There's only one reason why I don't like this movie right now. Because I have a splitting headache from being emotionally drained!IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE has been the top of my list for all time favorite movies, now I AM SAM has moved in right next to it. I'm not saying that you have to have kids to understand the true meaning behind this movie, but I must say it certainly helps. I told my wife on the way back home from the movie that she was sooo stuck with me. She knew what I was referring to; our 6 month old little girl and our 5 year old little girl. I guess I'm just a <more>
good ole fashion softy. I came home and gave my 5 year old the biggest hug of her life and the tears just started flowing. I felt I had been impatient with her lately and just needed to let her know how much her daddy loves her.I know this isn't a true rating of a movie. I'm not describing certain scenes that I thought were great or needed improving, I just wanted to express how it made me feel. And though I have a pounding head right now, I feel like I'm the luckiest dad in the world!
I haven't been a fan of Sean Penn's since Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Since that time, nearly all his films have left me flat. In fact, I nearly didn't watch this film since he was in it. What a loss it would have been if I'd missed it! I won't go into the story line since that's been reviewed a lot by others. The story is sort of a cliché'd one and has been done before, though not as well. The story isn't this film's strength anyway - it's the acting. Rarely have I seen a film with this much powerful acting. Penn's performance as Sam is <more>
brilliant! He must have studied autistic/mentally challenged people to pull this performance off. I also want to mention how good Michele Pfeiffer was in this. Her character starts out as a hard-hearted witch and ends up being very human, thanks to her exposure to Sam. The change in her is gradual, subtle and fun to watch. Sams friends, very well played by Brad Silverman, Joseph Rosenberg, Stanley DeSantis and Doug Hutchinson are very important support characters. Laura Dern gives a stellar performance as Randy. Dakota Fanning as Lucy very nearly steals the show. This little actress has quite a career ahead of her, I hope! This film is delicately balanced, and has a good bit of humor interspersed with parts that will have even the most insensitive of you reaching for a tissue. The film has a sort of a sappy and somewhat surprising outcome, but by this time any other ending would have been pretty much unacceptable to most people. This movie blew me away and I gave it a 9.
When I saw in television announcing about the story of ''I Am Sam'', I didn't think twice and got the DVD of this movie to watch. First of all, Sean Penn's performance is awesome! He really look a mentally challenged person in all his acts and ways to move and talk! Michelle Pfeiffer also has a great performance and is very beautiful in this movie as Sam's lawyer Rita Harrison.Sam Dawson is a mentally retarded man, who has the same capacity of a 7 year-old child..He works at a Starbucks, loves the Beatles his favorite band and one day has a normal daughter with a <more>
homeless woman, who abandons him and her daughter when she has the chance. Sam takes care of his daughter, who he gives the name Lucy Diamond, with the help of his friends, specially Annie. a piano teacher who is his neighbour But time is passing, and when Lucy reaches 7 years old she understands her father is not *normal* and intentionally tries not to be smarter than him,what makes her have problems in school. The Social service takes her away to another family, and Sam needs the help of a lawyer to win the case. That's where Rita Harrison enters, and she will not only help Sam, but learn great values with him.aka "Uma Lição de Amor" - Brazil
Mentally challenged single dad fights to care for daughter (by mdm-11)
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 <more>
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.
Spoilers herein.This is a very well engineered project, a real lesson in the conceptual end of filmmaking. There are three legs to the strategy: the engineered approach to the acting; the camera stance; and the abstraction of the Beatles.First the acting. Sean Penn does the richest character work of anyone on film. Usually when a mentally diminished character is portrayed, the actor starts with themselves, then takes away, then dramatizes. The rather crude work of Dustin Hoffman in `Rainman' is of that type. The same approach as `Tootsie.' Juliette Lewis' `The Other Sister,' <more>
is much more interesting because she tries to reduce to the real. But she still starts from herself. The bones of Scientology and theater glitz show through.Penn is far more intelligent, nearly always working on several stances at once. Instead of starting with himself, he creates the character that Sam would be if he weren't mentally limited. Then he takes away from that. That means playing a character behind the character. But what he does is add the dimension needed to dramatize the elements. The trick is to do this is a way that doesn't show. So he manages all three in three different ways.What's novel is the pairing with Michelle. She is remarkably one-dimensional. So there is a reversal of the characters: next to Penn, Pfeiffer seems retarded. The rest of the cast is between the two in talent, and that placement of the casting must have been deliberate. The management of the camera enhances the effect. It is almost exclusively handheld. Instead of back and forth cuts, we have pans. Engages us more intimately, between two of Penn's layers.But the most clever element is the use of the Beatles in the story. The main thread of the story is ordinary, but the backthread is not. The Beatles defined a reality, which constitutes the world of Weist's character. Adopting this world brings a whole prefabricated fantasy to the story. Sam uses this as a template to explain the world to himself and us. As with the contrast between Penn and Pfeiffer, so too the contrast between the Beatle's originals and the versions we get here which are simplified, watered down, soulless.Its abstractions are all so well folded and integrated that it has multidimensional body. The whole project can only have started with Penn. Note the deft touch that has him making elaborate origami throughout.Just on the side: Mary Steenbergen has the most appealing controlled face in the business, and one of the few older women film whose sex appeal has increasedThe only thing that is a miss here is the title, and the reference to reading. The shift from `normal' to `impaired' intelligence is implicitly equated to the relationship of the real world to Dr. Suess's world. That's not fair, even offensive.
If you're looking for a tear-jerking, emotion-provoking melodrama, this is your first on the list, (by liquiddesires19)
If you're looking for a tear-jerking, emotion-provoking melodrama, this is your first on the list. I am Sam is a sensational dramatic piece that will leave you with tears to wipe. In the film, Sam Dawson Sean Penn is a mentally challenged single father who's left by, as what it seems, a one night stand homeless woman to raise his daughter Lucy Dakota Fanning . Despite of being a mentally retarded person, Sam has a job working in a local Starbucks coffee store and has got friends with some what equal mental capacity. He's a sweet, good-natured, and loving father to Lucy that is <more>
equally attached to him.Unfortunately, a sordid twist of fate takes place in their paradise, at Lucy's 7th birthday a social worker believes that Sam, having the mental capacity of a 7-year-old, can't raise his child that is outgrowing him. Lucy is taken to a foster care temporarily as her father, along with the help of his mentally challenged friends, tries to find a high-profile attorney that can help him get his child back.After multiple attempts, Sam manages to appoint an attorney Michelle Pfeiffer who only takes the job at first as a dare. Rita Harrison Michelle Pfeiffer is a successful busy lawyer that comes home to a cheating man and a son who hates her, through the movie Sam and Rita develop a friendly relationship which is an eye-opening for Rita to value her family and be more involved in her son's life. Sam goes through a legal battle to retain custody of Lucy, aided by his mentally challenged friends, his agoraphobic neighbor Annie Cassell Diana Wiest , and his high profile determined lawyer Michelle Pfeiffer .The film is enriched with major cast members that in turn give out one of their best performances in their career life. Most noticeably, Sean Penn who initially visited L.A. Goal, a center in Los Angeles for mentally handicapped persons as groundwork to his role. I was truly impressed with Sean Penn's performance on the set of I Am Sam and how well he managed his role and his dedication to it as he freely indulged in the character of Sam Dawson. For anyone who has Sean Penn as a favourite actor, it's a must watch as it is easily his one of many remarkable performance and the stepping stone of his career. As for Michelle Pfeiffer, I wouldn't expect any other actress to perform the role of Rita Harrison as beautifully good as Michelle did. It's a perfect fit to her character and she accurately embodied the character of Rita that possesses an exhausted ill-tempered work driven nature. Least but not last, the amazing Dakota Fanning did a remarkable role on the set, and by far one of her best performances as a child.The movie is Beatles-themed as we first understand Sam's character as an impressive Beatles-knowledgeable person despite being retarded. He then names his child Lucy Diamond inspired from the Beatles song "Lucy in the Diamond Sky". As a matter of fact, Michelle Pfeiffer's character is named after the song "Lovely Rita" by the Beatles and her surname is that of a Beatles member, George Harrison and if you noticed in the film, Rita Harrison Michelle Pfeiffer points that George Harrison was her favourite Beatle. In addition, the background music mainly consists of Beatles music and other Beatles songs covered by various artists for certain rights. The film is sweeping in its beauty, director Jessie Nelson did a great job in portraying her idea of "I Am Sam" into an absolutely wonderful movie especially after a 7 years of film directing drought. The cinematography is mostly hand-held work as the Camera is always close by to Sam for the obvious reason of picturing Sam's movement in a subjective sense allowing the viewer to actually feel with the character and pensively translate his actions. It's a closer look to the mentally handicapped people's world, that every act of their doing has an essence and that they are truly remarkable in their own "special" way.Lastly, should a intellectual deficiency restrain one from raising his own child? We've all had a grandma or grandma that despite of their intelligence in life aspects, had difficulty in helping their kids with their Geometry homework but does that alone hinder the child from having a well educated natural life? The movie has a great message, that when it comes to parenting, love is the most important thing and if that is present then it most certainly paves the way to a healthy parent-child relationship.