Before I begin my review of the movie â€œI Am Samâ€ I should be upfront and state that I love the tearjerker genre. I always like the movies that play with my emotions and I think that is a sure sign of a well made movie, but I admit I find most of these movies intriguing due to the fact I think I am an over emotional male that is easily touched by the sad story. These sorts of films often use music and other elements to pull at my emotions; director Jesse Nelson is no different in his use of the tools to touch the heart. â€œI Am Samâ€ is the story of an autistic adult and his struggle to maintain custody of his daughter. The movie deals with a controversial issue and forces the viewer to sympathize with Sam the autistic father who is trying to maintain custody of his child. Sean Penn, who plays Sam, does an amazing job acting the part of an individual with autism but this is not to say the story is not without faults.
Sam has a mild case of autism but is a very high functioning individual despite his mental disability. When the show first began I thought the movie would parallel the classic movie Rainman, staring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman. But I quickly dismissed this comparison as soon as the plot began to evolve. The story is not about accepting the autistic adult like Rainman was but instead deals with parenting and the characteristics of a good parent. The movie argues through every scene that love is the single most important characteristic of parenting.
Sam Dawson is able to work at Star Bucks earning minimum wage, but quickly has his life changed when he finds himself a father after having a one-night stand with a homeless woman who was only looking for a place to live. As mentioned same is very high functioning and it is possible that a Starbucks employee could do their job with autism but Sam has some unrealistic abilities. Autisitic individuals are characterized by their inability to deal with changes, as well as emotional detachment.