The greatest love in the world is a parent’s love for their child.
In the 2001 film, I Am Sam, Sam Dawson (Sean Penn) is a single father with a mental handicap caring for his daughter Lucy (Dakota Fanning). The problem is that Lucy is growing up and is starting to exceed her father’s emotional and mental capabilities.
Concerned that Sam is unable to care for his daughter, Lucy is taken away from him by the authorities. Sam turns to Rita Harrison Williams (Michelle Pfeiffer) to help him re-gain custody of his daughter. Rita, a high-profile attorney who usually represents clients who can pay large sums, is initially hesitant to take the case pro bono. Will Rita take the case and if she does, will Sam regain custody of his daughter?
This movie could have easily gone in the direction of the schmaltzy overworked drama. Thankfully, it does not. For all of the stuff that is said in the media (and the tabloids especially) about Sean Penn, he is an amazing actor. What makes his performance radiate beyond the screen and his character’s limitations is Sam’s love for his daughter. While he does not understand much of the world, he knows that his daughter is his world and he will fight to keep her in his life.
Michelle Pfeiffer puts in another standout performance with this role. Rita may have achieved much in her life, but there is something missing. What I truly appreciated about her character arc is the emotional journey Rita goes on.
But the standout performance goes to Dakota Fanning. At the then young age of 7, not only does she hold her own with her costars who are decades older than she is, but her performance is shows a maturity that went beyond her youth.
I absolutely recommend this film.