Just recently watched I Am Sam (New Line Cinema) on HBO and it brought back such memories when I watched this for the first time. The problem is when I turned the channel to HBO it was just starting… what’s the problem? You really need to be emotionally ready for this movie. I was not but I had to endure it but it’s so worth it.
This is one of the movies that you just cannot turn your back at every scene. Sam Dawson (Sean Penn) is remarkable in this movie. I appreciate the scenes were he is at work (Starbucks and KFC) trying his best to do a good job even though sometimes it just goes bad but the spirit and determination for him to earn a living to be able to provide his daughter a good life really pinches your gut.
There are so many powerful scenes in the movie – too many to mention. Some of my favorites were the courtroom scene, Sam trying very hard to organize his thoughts as he answers the questions for the lawyers; When Sam met his daughter, Lucy Diamond Dawson (Dakota Fanning) for the first time after being separated by Child Services – very powerful and believable; The confrontation between Sam and Rita Harrison-Williams (Michelle Pheiffer) when Rita succumbs to the vulnerability of telling Sam that her life is not as perfect as Sam thinks; And when Randy Carpenter (Laura Dern), the temporary parent and shelter for Lucy Diamond, went to Sam’s house to return his daughter – the connection of the father-daughter was that strong that convinced Randy that Lucy Diamond is better off being with her father.
The cast were perfect for their roles. And the nomination of Sean Penn was very well deserved. I also liked that Diane Wiest as Annie Cassell, Sam’s neighbor and who helped him raise Lucy Diamond as an infant. Loretta Devine plays Margaret Calgrove, a social worker who recommended that Lucy Diamond will be better in a normal parents and home. And of course Richard Shiff plays Mr. Turner, the smooth and cocky prosecutor.
I really recommend this to everyone who wants to feel good at the end of movie but do expect some tears to flow down every now and then. Though this is such an old movie (2001), it’s also good to revisit the movie and enjoy and celebrate being human. It’s very true that “Love is all you need.”