I am Sam (2001) with Sean Penn is being used in college sociology, psychology and English classes to help students explore the complex nature of love, parenting, intelligence and other important themes addressed in the film. Here is a movie review cum essay cum psychological/sociological analysis written on the film. Love, Intelligence, Parenthood in I am Sam ‘All you need is love’ is both a song by The Beatles and also a major theme of director Jessie Nelson’s 2001 film I am Sam, produced by New Line Cinema.
I am Sam is the story of a developmentally disabled and autistic man, Sam Dawson, who fathers a child with a homeless woman. The baby’s mother runs away immediately after the baby’s birth, leaving Sam, holding the baby. Sam has the mentality of a seven year old, but the common sense, compassion and determination of a mature adult. Despite his disabilities, Sam manages to raise his baby daughter Lucy, with the help of his friend Annie a reclusive pianist on his janitor salary from Starbucks.
Sam’s friends, four disabled adult men welcome and love Lucy and the little group bumbles along taking care of Lucy in their own funny, endearing way. Sam and Lucy have a lovely relationship. However at Lucy’s seventh birthday party, friends from school are invited and several mock Sam and Lucy. Seeing Lucy hurt and angry, Sam justifiably berates the offending child. The child’s parents’ already uncomfortable with Sam, target him as unfit father. Lucy is removed from Sam’s home and placed in court protection while the custody issue is resolved.