Thursday, April 19, 2012

"I Am Sam" Film review.

OK, so amidst my crazy, full on life which consists of me waking up, eating food that isn't good for me and playing video games, I've managed to find time to watch an old film that I last saw on a plane many, many years ago. I Am Sam. The story of a mentally challenged man who fights to maintain custody of his daughter. This truly is a film that grabs you by the heart and refuses to let go.


The relationship between Sam and Lucy (who he named after the Beatles song "Lucy in the sky with Diamonds") is, put simply, quite beautiful. His seemingly fragile mind and her tiny little frame combine to create a somewhat uneasy atmosphere and I imagine there were quite a few mothers watching this feeling a little on edge. To begin with Sam is a little unsure, as would anyone who had been left with a new born baby. (I can't even hold someone else's baby without crapping my pants). One night he receives a phone call from his neighbour, an elderly woman, who gives him some important advice about feeding.

A few years pass and Lucy is now at school. We then cut to one of my favourite scenes. Sam is at Lucy's school watching her give a presentation, the parents of the children are all stood in the crowd watching. Lucy stumbles during her sentence and Sam proclaims simply that "it was just too much to remember". I'm not sure what it is about this part that really gets to me, maybe its the fact that he's so supportive and loving that Lucy feels no pressure what so ever. It's soon followed by a somewhat aggravated father who is a little more impatient than Sam. The man talks through his teeth, telling his son off for forgetting a few details during his presentation.
It's these contrasting characters that really give you an insight into what it means to be a good parent. Are someone's skills as a parent directly proportionate to their level of intelligence? Clearly not. A better question might be, are someone's skills as a parent directly proportionate to how big of and ass-hole they are? The answer? Yes. Here's a graph.



During the next couple of scenes Sam finds himself being arrested after talking to a prostitute, he is completely oblivious to the sexual connotations of the the conversation and this becomes clear to the police that arrested him when he uses his phone call to make sure his daughter had brushed her teeth.

Fast forward to Lucy's next birthday and Sam decides to have a surprise party. The lady who had previously met him in the police station turns up on behalf of child services. This scene really got to me. It's quite clear that Sam puts in more effort than most parents would. He even has a trampoline/bouncy castle set up in the middle of the room! The lady is clearly aware of this fact but still, quite uncomfortably I should add, must do the job she's been given. Sam now finds himself in court. The judge gives him the bad news that he will only be able to see Lucy twice a week for two hours. Sam breaks down in tears and you get the feeling that the people around him are simply following orders, whether they agree with those orders or not seems kind of irrelevant. After all, the law is the law.

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