The Portrayal of the System and Foster Care
This movie shows how easy it is to build a positive or negative case against anyone using the same information. It's all in the interpretation of the evidence.
I Am Sam is a must see for all involved with the foster care system. While watching this film the viewer will notice the growth of a foster mom, played by Laura Dern, as she comes to understand the bond between Sam and Lucy. The foster mom sees that it doesn't matter to Lucy that her dad doesn't understand simple concepts, or that her foster family can do more for her. The bond between Sam and Lucy is stronger than his disability. The network of people that rally around Lucy and Sam will bring tears of joy and hope for this family as they fight to stay together.
Sean Penn does a fantastic job playing a mentally challenged individual. You actually lose yourself in his role and forget that this is a man with normal intelligence pretending to have a disability. If you don't want to watch for the excellent story line than watch for Sean Penn's performance.
Michelle Pfeiffer demonstrates a wide range of emotions as her character struggles to work with Sam's disabilities. Her portrayal of the lawyer is not only believable but matches the talent and strength of Penn's performance. Pfeiffer was not over shadowed in this line-up.
Dakota Fanning is a beautiful little girl with a bigger than life acting ability. She shines in this movie, winning and breaking hearts all at the same time. She is a new favorite of mine and her role in I Am Sam started my interest in her career.
To Sum it Up
I Am Sam forces the viewer to think about family and the importance of family bonds. The importance of children remaining with their birth parents, and how people can work together as support systems for families with unique challenges when they put the needs of the child first.
Again, I think that this movie is a must see especially for new foster families as an example of teamwork with birth families.
I Am Sam came out in 2001 and was co-written and directed by Jessie Nelson. It is rated PG-13 for language and runs 132 minutes.More Information on Foster Care and Foster Parenting