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Iam Sam

            "I am Sam" is the story of mentally challenged Sam Dawson who is suddenly faced with raising his newborn daughter on his own after the mother leaves the two of them right outside of the hospital. Sam names the baby girl Lucy Diamond, after the Beatles" song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds". With the help of Annie, a wise and also watchful neighbor, and Sam's circle of mentally challenged friends, his informal support network, Sam manages to raise Lucy. Everything goes well until Lucy reaches age 7 which is the level of Sam's mental capacity. A series of unfortunate events makes a social worker become aware of the situation. She decides that Sam is an unfit father and that he cannot take care of Lucy any longer. The legal argument is that he won't be an appropriate parent once Lucy is mentally older than him. Sam and his friends realize they need help to ensure Sam's custody of Lucy and to fight the system. Rita Harrison takes the case free of charge but for completely selfish reasons. The moment she steps into the picture it becomes clear that the purpose of this movie is not only to show how a parent with a disability is caught in the legal and social service systems. There is more to it. The movie raises some serious questions that should be of concern for everyone in our society. What defines a "good" parent? Is it the amount of intellectual maturity displayed or the level of love given? Does being a competent parent have anything to do with money? And isn't raising a child a challenge for everyone?.
             Director Jessie Nelson wants to make the audience think. She indicates that everyone is damaged in one way or another. Sam may be severely disabled but he is not the only one with a problem. There is his neighbor Annie for example, who hasn't left her house in years. Or his self-absorbed lawyer Rita who is not even able to spend time with her son. .
             Rita works way too hard to support her shallow, cold and materialistic lifestyle which doesn't even make her happy.

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