I Am Sam
Based on true events, Sean Penn plays mentally challenged Sam. After his daughter is born, Sam’s wife abruptly walks out, leaving him to care for the child completely on his own. Fast-forward the calendar. Lucy (Dakota Fanning), now almost seven, lives happily with her father. However, when one of Lucy’s friends complains that Sam hit him, Lucy is taken away by social services. Faced with the prospect of long-term separation from his beloved daughter, Sam seeks help from high-priced lawyer Rita Harrison (Michelle Pfeiffer). At first unwilling to help, Rita eventually takes his case for free and, in the process, receives a much-needed lesson in parenting herself.
The acting in this film is top-notch, with Pfeiffer maybe giving the best performance of her career. Penn is completely believable as the handicapped Sam, and young Dakota Fanning hits all the right notes, particularly in her scenes with Penn. The film’s major objectionable content is strong profanity, with God’s name used in vain seven times (most spoken by Rita in her hurry to get from place to place) and a single strong obscenity. Foul vocabulary mars what should be a thought-provoking film for older teens and adults.