Type of paper: Report

Topic: Family, Parents, Father, Disability, Women, Psychology, Movies, Cinema

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2021/01/03

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This report explores a 2001 movie entitled “I am Sam” that describes the journey of a father (Sean Penn) who endures a mental disability and capacity of a 7-year old kid while living and taking care of his daughter Lucy (Dakota Fanning). Lucy’s mother is a homeless woman who has different plan for herself and eventually abandoned her family after her birth. Through the help of Sam’s friends and close neighbours, Lucy grew up with so much love and support while his father works as a coffee clerk in Starbucks. Eventually, Lucy understood that his father is different and that her school friends call him retard. Lucy realized that she surpassed the intellectual capacity of her father and chose to slow down with her learning. The school noticed the change in performance of Lucy and school and blamed her situation because of her father’s mental incapacity. Sam fought for the custody of his kid while the social workers took Lucy and brought her to a foster home. Sam lost the battle and Lucy stayed with her foster family, but often run away and goes back to her father. Towards the end, the foster family returns Lucy to her father but agreed to share the responsibility with her.

IDEA Eligibility

Although the central character of the movie portrays an individual with mental disability, Sam is not eligible for special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). According to this act, having a disability does not automatically an individual with special education. As a basic requirement, the IDEA focuses on a child or a student with hearing impairment, intellectual disability, language or speech impairment as well as grave emotional trouble.

Portrayal of the Character

The father and daughter moment of Sam and Lucy seriously engages its audience to understand the struggle of a mentally challenged man and to convince everyone that his mental condition will not harm his daughter but protect and love her more. More than the disorder of a man who managed to develop a loving surrounding for his daughter, the movie highlighted that a disorder like that of Sam’s is not a hindrance to sincerely show his true emotions as a loving and caring friend and a neighbour and a dedicated father.


The other characters in the movie apparently demand a normal and caring environment for Lucy especially his father is mentally challenged. This expectation became obvious when the school administration where Lucy is studying blames the low school performance of the girl to the mental condition of his father. Because of this expectation, Sam went through fighting for custody of his daughter.


Despite Sam’s mental disability, friends and neighbours are blessings in his family. One of his kindest neighbours helps him organize and prepare the schedule of television programs for Lucy. Also, when Sam fought for the custody of his daughter, his attorney who appeared as a brusque and strict woman eventually mellow down when it comes to treating him as an annoying child. Apparently, during the duration of the trial, Rita the attorney realized that the situation where Sam is also depicts her life as she struggles for love in her own family.


The mental disability of Sam did not become a barrier for him to establish group of sincere friends among his neighbourhood. Through his loving and honest relationship with his daughter, such atmosphere is also apparent among the relationship with his neighbour and other support group with developmental disability as well. His disposition and character also appeals to the life of his attorney as she is struggling to become brave and fight for her family challenges. Sam innocently persuaded his attorney to leave his unfaithful husband and mend her broken relationship with her son.


The movie showed how broken-hearted Sam was when the opposing counsel convinced him that he is not capable of being a good father and a role model as a parent. Because of this, Lucy stayed with her foster parents and away from her father. Lucy would run away in the middle of the night and goes back to his father as she yearns to stay with him. Sam, being a loving and caring father, sends her back to her foster parents to follow what the orders of the counsel. Despite of his mental disability, this moment evinced that Sam is capable of making a sound life decision as a normal individual. Eventually, the foster parents return Lucy to her father and Sam still offered to share the responsibility with them as Lucy needs a mother figure which he cannot provide.


Sam is exhibiting a strong sense of determination and will all throughout the movie. This behaviour is apparent from how he works as a coffee clerk in Starbucks to sincerely showing his fatherly love to Lucy despite his mental disability. He also maintained his sense of dignity as the opposing counsel tried to prove that he is incapable of being a good parent. Despite the physical and mental challenge that he experience, he explained to them that he never displayed any behaviour to harm his child. Above all, the love that he has for his daughter overpowers every challenge that came along his family and this is one of his greatest strength.


When the opposing counsel decided to put Lucy in a foster home, this event demonstrated that Sam’s mental disability did not give him the same right as all other citizens. The opposing counsel persuaded their audience and Sam that he has no capacity of being a good parent to his child.

People’s Views

The movie showed varying perspective on how people treat individual’s with mental disability. Some people sincerely showed that they are considerate, helpful and understanding, while others appear as judgmental and selfish towards mentally challenged individual. The movie is an eye-opener and convincingly appeals to the heart of the people to show more compassion among these individuals.

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WePapers. (2021, January, 03) Example Of Movie Summary Report. Retrieved February 07, 2023, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-movie-summary-report/
"Example Of Movie Summary Report." WePapers, 03 Jan. 2021, https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-movie-summary-report/. Accessed 07 February 2023.
WePapers. 2021. Example Of Movie Summary Report., viewed February 07 2023, <https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-movie-summary-report/>
WePapers. Example Of Movie Summary Report. [Internet]. January 2021. [Accessed February 07, 2023]. Available from: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-movie-summary-report/
"Example Of Movie Summary Report." WePapers, Jan 03, 2021. Accessed February 07, 2023. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-movie-summary-report/
WePapers. 2021. "Example Of Movie Summary Report." Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. Retrieved February 07, 2023. (https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-movie-summary-report/).
"Example Of Movie Summary Report," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 03-Jan-2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-movie-summary-report/. [Accessed: 07-Feb-2023].
Example Of Movie Summary Report. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-movie-summary-report/. Published Jan 03, 2021. Accessed February 07, 2023.

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