I Am Sam (2002)
Main cast: Sean Penn (Sam Dawson), Michelle Pfeiffer (Rita Harrison), Laura Dern (Randy Carpenter), Dakota Fanning (Lucy Diamond Dawson), Dianne Wiest (Annie), and Joseph Rosenberg (Joe)
Director: Jessie Nelson


I caught this movie on a pirated VCD. At first I thought the person with the camcorder in the cinema (how else do you think they make pirated VCDs?) is epileptic, but then I realized that this movie is one of those fancy-schmancy "filmed with a hand-held device" movie.

It doesn't bode well. There's only one reason why filmmakers will use this technique apart from lack of big budgets - pretentiousness.

And I Am Sam is the worst of melodrama and pretentiousness.

It's about this guy Sam who is - well, forget political correctness. He's retarded. But he loves his annoying, irritating cry-and-wail-at-the-drop-of-the-hat daughter Lucy, so he goes to court to fight social welfare people who tries to take Lucy away from him.

Poor Lucy, who deliberately dumbs herself in school because her daddy has the mental capacity of a seven-year old. Aww.

Look, Sam loves Lucy and Lucy loves Sam. Fine. But Sam is obviously unable to care for Lucy, so if you ask me, the social service people have the right to step in. I Am Sam could have a movie about complexities of situations such as this. Whose rights should come first? Sam's, even if in the long run it may not be good for Lucy to remain with him?

But who cares? This movie doesn't. There is no question, according to this piece of crap, that Sam can't take care of Lucy - even if he can't - because all you need is love. Love and Beatles music. Love is enough to save the world. Love, love, love.

Normal people are evil. Normal parents abuse their kids, unlike special Sam, lovely Sam who lets her daughter cry for ages when she was a baby because he is too "innocent" to know that babies need to be fed. How lovely is innocence, yes? People who use logic, like social welfare workers, are bastards. It's our heart that counts. Pure viscera.

Not satisfied with this insulting message, the movie proceeds to use Michelle Pfeiffer to condemn modern women who dare give up motherhood for careers and other jolly evil stuff.

Sean Penn overacts and overemotes so much it is embarrassing. Sometimes I wonder if he's playing a retarded fellow or the state of retardation.

This movie boils through embarrassing schmaltz, brainless and unthinking family values rhetorics, and sentimental court cases in a rollercoaster ride of pure excruciation. I suspect I Am Sam will be some crackpot right-wing religious folks' wet dream, but for me, I am in hell.

Rating: 06


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