Monday, August 28, 2006

I Am Sam

Janice & I watched I Am Sam last night [imdb; official site; wikipedia; rotten tomatoes; hollywood Jesus].

Plot Summary:
Sam Dawson has the mental capacity of a 7-year-old. He works at a Starbucks and is obsessed with the Beatles. He has a daughter with a homeless woman; she abandons them as soon as they leave the hospital. He names his daughter Lucy Diamond (after the Beatles song), and raises her. But as she reaches age 7 herself, Sam's limitations start to become a problem at school; she's intentionally holding back to avoid looking smarter than him. The authorities take her away, and Sam shames high-priced lawyer Rita Harrison into taking his case pro bono. In the process, he teaches her a great deal about love, and whether it's really all you need.
Many critics panned it as being overly suggary, a manipulative heart-tugger. But we enjoyed it. It's a good story... excellent acting... I'd recommend it.

Yes, the story is a little contrived. There isn't a court around that would or should give serious consideration to letting Sam parent this child. It's not that he is a bad or abusive parent, but his mental capacity is that of a seven year old and Lucy is surpassing him quickly. Indeed, in many ways, Lucy is quickly becoming a parent to Sam. As the system tries to do what needs to be done, we begin to see the selfishness of the people involved.
  • Sam cries in the courtroom: "I want Lucy to come home with me." (And the lines are delivered with the emphasis on "I" and "me".)
  • Rita: what matters is for her to win - not that it is right or wrong, but that she wins.
  • Lucy's foster mother, Randy: she yearns for Lucy to love her. She wants to adopt Lucy to really be her daughter.
  • Lucy: she has her moments of selfishness. She is becoming embarrassed by Sam's retardation. She has told some of her playmates that he's not her real father; she's adopted.
All of these selfish people pulling in their own direction is the way the world often seems to work. And the struggle of that pulling will only bring injury to all those involved.
Eventually, they discover that they must give up their selfishness.
  • Sam knows that it is better for Lucy to be with people who can help her grow.
  • Rita discovers that life is not about winning, it is about the people that she has the chance to love.
  • Randy discovers that children aren't to be owned and that home is that place where love is great.
When all begin to live and act in behalf of others needs, they find the way to deal with Lucy's well being and happiness.

Jesus said, "If anyone would be my disciple, let them deny themselves..."
Paul wrote, "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interest, but to the interest of others."

When we discover the ways to do that in our lives, the possibilities of well being and happiness open themselves, just as they did in the lives of all those involved in the lives of Sam and Lucy.


michael lewis said...

I saw this film in 2002.

It was a lazy day, and Yolanda called up Luke and said: "Hey, I just bought a movie on expressvu. Get everyone to come over."

Luke: "What movie?"

Yolanda: "I am Sam."

Luke: "Is that like 'Summer of Sam'?"

Yolanda: "Yeah, sure....just get everyone to come over, it starts soon!"


30 minutes later


Yolanda and Erin were stuck in a room with about 10 guys watching a chick flick in which the guys thought it would be about a serial killer.

You can figure out what happened.

We just couldn't figure out why the girls were crying all the time. Was it our mean jokes about the movie?

pastor mike said...

That would have been a crazy experience... I feel sorry for Yolanda & Erin... It must have been brutal

nadine said...

I love that movie.
I don't love boys who make fun of movies I love.

If I were Yolanda or Erin, I would not be crying. I would be hitting you, Michael (the Lewis one, not the father one).