According to the summary by Rotten Tomatoes, a film review aggregator, Sam Dawson is a developmentally disabled adult who has been working at a coffee shop and raising his daughter Lucy for seven years. Sam receives help in his parenting duties from a circle of trusted confidantes, including his ADD-afflicted best friend Ifty, the paranoid Robert, an agoraphobic neighbor, and his other disabled pals, Brad and Joe.
Although he provides a structured and loving environment for Lucy that includes regular visits to IHOP, video nights, and karaoke, Sam's daughter is beginning to surpass him in mental acuity. When Lucy begins intentionally stunting her own growth so as not to hurt her beloved father, social worker Margaret takes action, removing the girl from her home and placing her in the temporary care of a foster mother, Randy.
As the day of his hearing looms, Sam seeks out the aid of driven, obsessive lawyer Rita Harrison, who takes the case only to prove to her colleagues that she is willing to accept pro bono work. Opposed by county lawyer Turner in court, Rita gradually comes to care for her client and his daughter, even as they force her to consider the limitations of her own abilities as a parent.
On this 2001 movie, Sam is suffering from mental retardation, which is a condition diagnosed before age 18 that includes below-average general intellectual function, and a lack of the skills necessary for daily living, as stated by Medline Plus. It affects about 1 - 3% of the population. There are many causes of mental retardation, but doctors find a specific reason in only 25% of cases.
A family may suspect mental retardation if the child's motor skills, language skills, and self-help skills do not seem to be developing, or are developing at a far slower rate than the child's peers. Failure to adapt (adjust to new situations) normally and grow intellectually may become apparent early in a child's life. In the case of mild retardation,...