7.6/10
136,045
452 user 121 critic

I Am Sam (2001)

PG-13 | | Drama | 25 January 2002 (USA)
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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
2,391 ( 27)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 11 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:

I Am 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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sean Penn was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor (the Oscar), the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role, the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor and the Satellite Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama. See more »

Goofs

Annie tells Sam that "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is about a girl named Lucy O'Connell. The girl's name was really Lucy O'Donnell. See more »

Quotes

Conner Rhodes: Why does your father act like a retard?
Lucy: He is.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The 76th Annual Academy Awards (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Strawberry Fields Forever
Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney
Performed by Ben Harper
Ben Harper appears courtesy of Virgin Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Powerful film!
10 October 2002 | by grahamsj3See all my reviews

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 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.


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