August 05, 2012

I Am Sam

I Am Sam was a 2001 drama movie starring Sean Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer and a very young Dakota Fanning.  Also part of the cast were Dianne West, Laura Hern, Richard Schiff, Loretta Devine, and many more. It was directed, co-produced, and co-written by Jessie Nelson.

To start things off, I wanted to share my side in a discussion I read on the internet how Sean Penn did not deserve to be nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in this movie. A lot of people claimed that Penn should not have been even nominated for the award for Best Actor. To that I say, why not? Clearly, he was able to portray a man far from his normal self. He was able to channel his inner abilities in order to portray in a believable manner a mentally inept man longing for the constant presence of his daughter. I thought he did very well and played the part to the best of his abilities. Maybe others deserved to win more. In fact, I would have picked Russell Crowe to win for A Beautiful Mind. However, I wouldn't go as far as saying Sean Penn didn't deserve the nomination.

The story was all about love, parenting, relationships, and social norms. I thought those were the themes of the movie and everything mashed up rather well. It's a story about a man with an intelligence of a 7 year old who had a kid with a woman after the said woman stayed in his home. This left Sam, played by Sean Penn, alone to raise his daughter, played by Fanning. It showcased their unusual relationship wherein both were being kids. At one point, the kid even wanted to stop her intellectual development just so the father wouldn't feel bad. It's those complications that the movie focused at that made this movie a little bit different.

The movie sort of became a legal drama when people started thinking Sam was an unfit father and letting Lucy, the kid, stay with him would be unwise. Allowing Lucy to live with his father, they thought, would be a hindrance to the development of the kid and might not allow her to reach her potential. This was where Michelle Pfeiffer entered as a career driven woman who had family troubles of her own. Not wanting to represent Sam at first, she was slowly forced to take his case to prove a point to her colleagues, a personal one at that. Things then started to change and a relationship was built between them. The movie explored how different kinds of people meet each other and relate to one another.

I first saw the movie when I was still very young. I don't think DVDs were already around that time. It was shown in our school, and during those times, I'd really just want to watch a movie than listen to lectures. I remember people getting really invested in the movie, wanting for Sam t win the case and get his daughter back. There was such a reaction, and I guess that was what our teacher was hoping for. I forgot the discussion that happened after the movie, but I'm pretty sure it was about the lessons we all should learn from this movie.

Actually, the reason I decided to watch this movie again was because I've forgotten a lot about it. I remember liking it before but I couldn't remember why. I guess watching it for the second time reminded me why. It was a good movie. It was moving and it had a lot of good messages. It had great actors, and it launched Dakota Fanning's career big time. You might want to check that out.

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