I Am Sam Psychology Movie Review

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1. Movie Title
I Am Sam

2. Year of Production
2001 (Theatrical) – 2002 (Home Video)

3. Feature Length
134 Minutes

4. Director
Jessie Nelson

5. Producers and Studio
Director/Producer Jessie Nelson, Executive Producer David Scott Rubin & Producers Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz, Richard Solomon.
New Line Home Entertainment

6. Major Character Cast
Sam Dawson played by Sean Penn
Rita Harrison played by Michelle Pfeiffer
Lucy Diamond Dawson played by Dakota Fanning

7. Brief Synopsis
Mentally disabled Sam Dawson is a single father fighting to keep custody of his daughter Lucy with the help of his pro-bono lawyer, Rita Harrison.

11. Comparative Information
The movie portrays Sam Dawson as a mentally deficient parent. The closest the movie, and any resource on it, came to giving an actual diagnosis of his condition is given by a judge in the film stating "… you have the mental capacity of a 7 year old." This movie revolves around Sam fighting for the right to raise his daughter beyond the age of 7. The film also has many sociological aspects that correspond to Sam and his daughter, Lucy's relationship as well as the effects on them separately.

In the large amount of legal proceedings Sam goes through in the movie, I expected to hear a formal diagnosis or at least a technical term for Sam's mental capabilities, but there was none. Some of the symptoms portrayed by Sam lead me to believe he is developmentally disabled (DD) with moderate learning disabilities. Compulsion without obsession is more common in the mentally disabled, which lead me to believe that he also has a slight compulsive disorder which comes into play at only highly stressful situations.

The legalities that play out through the movie show the social service system as best-interest but cold and inflexible with no other options. The movie did not address that there are government programs that help specifically with DD parents and even the same parents that...
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