I Am Sam Case Study

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Mikaela McMorine October 21st, 2012
Analyzing an Interview
Movie: I Am Sam (directed by Jessie Nelson)

The individuals involved in the interview are a man diagnosed with Autism (subject S) and a female lawyer (subject R). They are connected through a professional-helping relationship. The incidents leading up to the interview are with regards to a custody battle concerning subject S and his seven year old daughter. His doctors have declared that the intellectual capacity of subject S does not exceed the age of seven. The issue arises when Child Protective Services deem subject S unfit and incapable of raising his daughter due to the fact that he is unable to hold down a steady job and that his daughter will eventually surpass his brain capacity in age. Subject S makes the conscious decision of hiring a lawyer to plead his case. The lawyer in question, or subject R, chooses to provide services to subject S free of charge.

During the custody battle, subject S is granted the opportunity to have short, supervised visits with his daughter. Shortly before the occurring of the interview, subject S and his daughter meet, followed by his daughter proposing to go to the park. She lies and tells him that the social worker gave her permission to go with him due to the fact that she did not spend enough time with him and she was crying. Once on their way, she explains to her father that the only possible way for them to be together was to run away. Subject S, makes the concrete decision to find his way to the police station and return his daughter to the social worker. This scene is followed by a court hearing where they call upon subject S’s neighbor as a witness. Earlier on at the start of the movie we see that this neighbor aids subject S in taking proper care of his daughter.

Subject S has been promoted in his job from cleaning the restaurant to making the drinks. On the first day of his new position, the restaurant is very busy and subject S begins working too fast, causing him to make a mess and send away some customers. He then attends his court hearing, covered in coffee and still dressed in his work clothes, where he is asked multiple questions about his ability to care for his daughter. Nearing the end of the hearing, subject S is faced with questions that result in him crying and agreeing with the fact that he is unable to take care of his daughter. After this hearing, he gets to see his daughter for a matter of seconds before she is literally ripped from his very arms. Later, subject S is seen observing his daughter outside of her foster home from a distance with flowers and a card in hand. Then, the foster mom joins the daughter where she explains that her father is supposed to come visit for her birthday that day. Upon seeing the arrival of the foster mom, subject S decides to leave without getting a chance to see his daughter. The young girl waits for her father and hugs her teddy bear with tears in her eyes when he does not show up.

After this, subject S is seen in his room banging his head on a miniature piano with the blinds closed. Subsequently, the subject begins making origami figures which he then stacks up to create a wall. Subject R comes to his house and begins to yell at him through the locked door. She explains that she left work early to meet him at his first evaluation only to find out that he did not show. After shouting for a few minutes, she threatens to leave but turns around and kicks down the door. This is the exact moment leading up to the interview. After discussing about the incident the occurred at subject S’s job, he states that he believes his daughter no longer needs him because she has a new family now. Subject R expresses that she disagrees with this notion and that he should never give up trying. The goal of the interview that follows is for subject R to encourage subject S to keep fighting for the custody of his daughter. Sam is the main character in the...
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