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I AM SAM Director: Jessie Nelson Writers: Kristine Johnson, Jessie Nelson Stars: Sean Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dakota Fanning Sheenna Jey O. Corollo BSTM III-1D INTRODUCTION: As a human being, what is a definition of the word parent to you? Is it the amount of intellectual maturity displayed or the level of love given? 1 Is it possible that a mentally challenged man can give the love and care that a child need as they grew up which should a parent give to their child? I Am Sam is a 2001 American drama film written and directed by Jessie Nelson.
Jessie Nelson and Kristine Johnson, who co-wrote the screenplay, researched the issues facing adults with developmental disabilities by visiting the non-profit organization L. A. Goal (Greater Opportunities for the Advanced Living). They subsequently cast two actors with disabilities, Brad Silverman and Joe Rosenberg, in key roles. For his role as Sam, Penn was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor at the74th Academy Awards in 2002. The movie’s title is named for the line “Sam I am” featured in the book Green Eggs and Ham, which is read in the movie. Sam Dawson (Sean Penn) is a man with special needs who fights to regain the custody of his seven-year-old daughter Lucy Diamond Dawson (Dakota Fanning) which named after the famous Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. “3 Although Lucy’s mother, a homeless woman, leaves right after Lucy is born, Sam never gives up. He works as janitor at Starbucks and with help from an agoraphobic neighbour Annie Cassell (Dianne Wiest), he’s doing fine. Sam also gets some help from an entourage of retarded pals, and all goes along pretty well until Lucy, at age seven, begins to surpass Sam’s intellectual ability.
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The Family Protective Services take Lucy away on her 7th birthday which Sam has a birthday surprise to her. Sam gets intense lawyer Rita Harrison (Michelle Pfeiffer) to help him and soon enough, she learns from Sam to take time to smell the roses and play with her own son. I Am Sam makes a compelling argument that love is the most important ingredient in raising a child and Sam shows that even a mentally challenged individuals are definitely capable of giving love, that love brings people together, including, sometimes, apparent enemies. 1 retrieved from <http://www. contactmusic. om/movie-review/iamsam> 2 Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, n. d. , <http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/I_Am_Sam>, (accessed 26 February 2013 at 17:54) 3 The Beatles, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, writ. Paul McCartney, 1 June 1967 PLOT SYNOPSIS: Sean Penn stars in the movie as Sam Dawson, a mentally handicapped man who gets a homeless girl pregnant. The movie opens with Sam rushing from work at Starbucks to the hospital where the young woman gives birth. The woman runs away, however, just as they are carrying the baby out of the hospital.
With help from a reclusive piano teacher who lives in a nearby apartment, Sam takes care of the baby, whom he names Lucy Diamond Dawson, after the famous Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. ” The Beatles, it seems, are often on Sam’s mind. Their songs provide a reference point for his life. Another touch point are the regular video nights that Sam and his mentally handicapped male friends hold, and their regular visits to the local IHOP pancake restaurant. As Lucy grows up, it becomes clear that Sam’s mental deficiencies are holding her back, especially when Lucy starts going to school.
In one scene, as Lucy reads a book with her father, Lucy pretends that she doesn’t know a word because she doesn’t want her father to look stupid. Sam, however, tells her that she is not stupid and that she should know that word. Nevertheless, Lucy’s school gets government social workers involved in Sam and Lucy’s case. They take Lucy away from Sam. Sam meets a rich lawyer named Rita Harrison, played by Michelle Pfeiffer. He’s inspired to hire her by the Beatles song about “lovely Rita, meter maid”4 and because her last name is Harrison, like the Beatle guitarist George
Harrison, but Rita the lawyer wants nothing to do with Sam’s case. Rita is a troubled, impatient woman wrapped up in the money she earns from her work. Unlike Sam, Rita has strained relations with her own child, a young boy. Also, her husband apparently is cheating on her. When the other lawyers at work snicker at Rita’s mercenary approach to the legal profession, Rita decides to take on Sam’s case pro bono, for free. This begins a series of ups and downs as Sam fights to regain custody of his beautiful, intelligent daughter. 5 4 Beatles, “Lovely Rita”, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, writ.
Paul McCartney, 1 June 1967 5 Robert Shaye, Movie guide Magazine, n. d. , <http://www. cbn. com/entertainment/screen/movie-Iamsam. aspx>, (accessed 3 March 2013) CONCLUSION: I can say that I Am Sam is a must watch movie especially to those who under estimate the mentally challenged man. It shows the real value of love and a father-daughter relationship, not only to your love ones but most especially what our parents had done for us. Sam Dawson only shows that despite of his disability, he can support and take good care of his very own daughter.
Like what Lucy say, “All I need is love”6 which means she doesn’t want anything but the love of her daddy. The real love who can only give to her is her father. She is contented of what she has and not asks for more. As a human being, we should learn to be contented and be sure not to waste the love given to us because once you throw it away, you will never have that and regret it. As Sam told Lucy “always set your dreams high”7 is one of the line in the movie that marked in my mind. There is no harm for dreaming high.
As soon as your dream is high, you are attaining for the best that you could. The time will come that you never know you already achieved your dream. Sean Penn definitely played a very outstanding role as Sam Dawson. He can be a role model not only for the one’s who has mental disabilities but for each and every one. He is really a good father for Lucy. I can say that when Sam told Rita – “I have had a lot of time to think it, think about what it is, that makes somebody a good parent, and it’s about a constant scene, and it’s about patience; and it’s about listening; and it’s about, nd it’s about pretending to listen, even when you can’t listen anymore; and it’s about a love like she said. “8 A good parent will do everything just to show his/her child that he/she is right, to never broke the trust between the two of you. Like a father and daughter, “It takes one to know one”9 which means “Only a person with identical character traits would be able to recognize those traits in someone else. Often used as a curt rejoinder to deflect an accusation; you’re only saying that about me because it’s true of you.
Originated in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century. “10 I Am Sam is a heartbreakingly sad and touching movie. For me it is one of the best movies I watched. It is ultimately inspiring and hopeful. Sam Dawson only proves that “It is clear that one’s intellectual capacity has no bearing on their ability to love”. 11 6 I Am Sam. Dir. Jessie Nelson. Perf. Lucy Dawson. 2001. DVD. The Bedford Falls Company, 2001. 7 I Am Sam. Dir. Jessie Nelson. Perfs. Sam Dawson, Lucy Dawson. 2001. DVD. The Bedford Falls Company, 2001. 8 I Am Sam. Dir.
Jessie Nelson. Perfs. Sam Dawson, Rita Harrison Williams. 2001. DVD. The Bedford Falls Company, 2001. 9 I Am Sam. Dir. Jessie Nelson. Perfs. Lucy Dawson, Conner Rhodes. 2001. DVD. The Bedford Falls Company, 2001. 10 Gregory Y. Titelman, “Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings”, (Random House, New York, 1996) 11 I Am Sam. Dir. Jessie Nelson. Perf. Mr. Turner. 2001. DVD. The Bedford Falls Company, 2001. As for the emotional sentiments expressed in the movie, they are based on a moral worldview that is inspiring rather than syrupy.
In fact, at one point, Sam prays to God for help. Although the help that God provides at that moment in the story does not last, and Sam and Lucy must go through further trials and tribulations, the movie ends on an incredibly uplifting note. Thus, God does eventually completely answer Sam’s prayer after all, but in an unexpected, redemptive way that not even Sam’s lawyer, Rita, could predict. In the end, an unexpected turn of events resolves Sam and Lucy’s problems and love brings nearly everyone together in the movie’s final wonderful scene.