I Am Sam

Sam Dawson: Sean Penn
Rita: Michelle Pfeiffer
Lucy Dawson: Dakota Fanning
Annie: Dianne Wiest
Ifty: Doug Hutchison
Margaret: Loretta Devine
Randy: Laura Dern
Turner: Richard Schiff
New Line Cinema presents a film directed by Jessie Nelson. Written by Kristine Johnson and Jessie Nelson. Running time: 133 minutes. Rating Rated PG-13 (for language).

Central Theme
Is love all you need? Can a loving father with the IQ of a seven year old raise his very smart daughter, or should others more mentally competent assume the responsibility?

I Am Sam is the compelling story of Sam Dawson (Sean Penn), a mentally-challenged father raising his daughter Lucy (Dakota Fanning) with the help of a unique group of friends. As Lucy turns seven and begins to intellectually surpass her father, their close bond is threatened when their unconventional living arrangement comes to the attention of a social worker advocating placing Lucy in foster care.

Faced with a seemingly un-winnable case, Sam vows to fight the legal system and forms an unlikely alliance with Rita Harrison (Michelle Pfeiffer), a high-powered, self-absorbed attorney who takes his case pro bono as a challenge from her colleagues. Together they must now convince the system that selfless love is the most precious gift a parent can give. — ‚© 2001 New Line Cinema

Sam loves the Beatles (his favorite is George). He named his daughter after ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,’ and has learned most of life’s lessons from Beatles songs. The lesson ‘I Am Sam’ wants to teach us is, ‘All you need is love.’ This is not quite strictly true. Sam loves his daughter more than anyone else, and she loves him, but it will take more than love for him to see her through grade school and adolescence and out into the world. Since the movie does not believe this, it has a serious disagreement with most of the audience.
— Roger Ebert ‚© Copyright Chicago Sun-Times Inc.

Beliefs num
–Mentally challenged people are capable of more than we think they are if given the chance.
–Many children live with smart but distant parents and would give anything for a parent like Sam who is attentive and loving.
–All humans are of great worth and the mentally challenged usually offer more than they take.
–Setting your dreams high will usually mean accomplishing more than if you don’t.
–People who seem to have it all often are less fulfilled than the mentally challenged.
–More than anything children need love.
–Raising a child is best done through the combined efforts of the immediate family, extended family and supporting community organizations.
–Prayer can change things.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–If faced with the choice of a mentally competent but distant parent and a mentally challenged but loving parent, which would be best for the child?
–Can a loving father with the IQ of a seven year old raise his very smart daughter, or should somebody else assume the responsibility?
–Is the mainstreaming of mentally challenged of greater benefit to society or the mentally challenged?
–Are we learning to appreciate the mentally challenged as a valuable, contributing part of a civilized society?

Provocative Quotes byline
–How can we be so different?
==Sam to Lucy
–Daddy, did God mean for you to be like this, or was it an accident?
==Lucy to Sam
–What’s wrong with your father? Why does he act like a retard? He is.
==Schoolboy friend to Lucy
–You’re not like other Daddies. (I’m Sorry). Daddy I’m lucky. Nobody else’s Daddy comes to the park.
==Lucy to Sam
–No one doubts that you love your daughter, but your intellectual capacity is around that of a seven year old. Our concern is what happens when Lucy turns eight.
==Court appointed counselor
–Read that word. I don’t want to read it if you can’t daddy.
==Sam and Lucy
–I find that it is not in the child’s best interests to remain in the home and I order her detained
==Judge at custody hearing
–Why’s Lucy not coming home with me?
==Sam to Judge
–Always set your dreams high Lucy.
==Sam to Lucy
–You don’t know what it is like when you try and you try and you try and you never get there.
==Sam to Rita
–You think what they think, Sam can’t take care of Lucy (It doesn’t matter what I think. It matters that we win) It matters to me.
==Sam to Rita
–Isn’t it true that you know you need much more than your daddy can give you?
==State Attorney
–All I need is love. I don’t want any daddy but you
==Lucy to Sam
–It is about patience. And it is about listening and it is about love.
==Sam in court (quoting Kramer vs. Kramer)
–I worry that I’m getting more out of this relationship than you are.
==Rita to Sam
–Rita goes into it for all the wrong reasons, and I think once you enter the enormous heart of these people and their lives, you can’t help but be touched and become invested. And that’s what happens to her.
==Michelle Pfeiffer about her character
–Rita needs to be tough and well put together, but below the surface she is fragile and vulnerable. This film is about the journey that she takes and what a profound and lasting impact Sam has on her life.
==Producer Richard Solomon about a sub-plot
–Randy is a wonderful option for this child, but Lucy also has such a bond with Sam that it’s heartbreaking to imagine her with anybody else, It creates a complexity for her to figure out how to strip it all down and figure out what’s best for the child. It feeds this world of what really is proper parenting, and who can judge where love comes from, and what feels best for a child? There really isn’t a definitive answer
==Laura Dern about her character

Posted in Movies, Staublog in January 25, 2002 by | No Comments »

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