I Am Sam Character Analysis

2065 Words9 Pages
I am Sam is a film about a man named Sam Dawson (Sean Penn) who has a mental disability that constrains his mental capacity to that of a seven-year-old. He has a seven-year-old daughter named Lucy (Dakota Fanning) who turns eight in the middle of the movie, causing a catalyst of events that lead to Sam losing custody. In the film, Sam has a strict routine that he must adhere to or else his whole schedule gets off track. He does not like change and cannot or will not adapt to it easily. This was best illustrated when Lucy wants to go to a new dinner instead of going to IHOP, their regular Wednesday outing. Sam orders French pancakes like the ones from IHOP and the waitress says they don’t have that, which causes Sam to start yelling “the customers…show more content…
Sam has no clue how to raise a child which is quite evident by how he struggles to change Lucy’s diapers and how he is not feeding her ever two hours, until his neighbor, Annie, explains it to him. He asks for help from Annie to babysit Lucy while he works, similar to any single parent needing a helping hand. Sam’s disability does not interfere greatly with his parenting until Lucy starts surpassing him intellectually. As shown in a scene where Lucy and Sam are reading a book and Sam has difficulties reading a long word so Lucy reads the word for him. Seeing that her father is having difficulties reading the advanced book she takes it away and they start reading Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. Sam then has a parent-teacher conference since Lucy is holding back in class and doesn’t want to advance, as to not leave him behind. When Lucy pretends she does not know how to say a word because she does not want to be smarter than her father, Sam tells her that her reading makes him happy. This exchange illustrates how different Sam and Lucy’s relationship is from the typical father-daughter relationship, instead of him helping her in school work, she has to learn by herself. Sam has a job at Starbucks cleaning tables that he has held for eight years showing that he is capable and hardworking human being. But once Sam finally receives…show more content…
Sam’s first encounter with the police was when he is mistaken for soliciting a prostitute at a bus stop. When he is taken to the police station the cop is speaking to the social worker and he believes that Sam is telling the truth that he didn’t know she was a prostitute. Sam’s second encounter with the cops is when Lucy tricks Sam into running away and they end up at a park with Lucy sleeping in a plastic tunnel. A cop shows up and thinks Sam is crazy because he is walking around the play ground with the sprinklers going off. Rita and the social worker working on their case show up and Rita argues that he was just tiring to spend some time with his child. In these two interactions, a social worker was always called, the cop was more sympathetic towards Sam whilst the social worker was strict and wary of Sam. When Sam first meets Rita at her office she is juggling many things at once and the scene is very chaotic. Rita pays no attention to Sam whilst he is telling the story of how they took Lucy away from him during her birthday. Slowly Sam starts to melt Rita’s cold heart with his genuine kindness and in the process teaching her how to be a more loving mother. When Sam meets with Lucy’s teacher and principal they speak to him in a gentle way and with great concern for Lucy. Although they do look at each other in concern when he references to the Beetles to
Open Document