I Am Sam is the compelling story of Sam Dawson (Sean Penn), a mentally-challenged father raising his daughter Lucy (Dakota Fanning) with the help of an extraordinary group of friends. As Lucy turns seven and begins to intellectually surpass her father, their close bond is threatened when their situation comes under the scrutiny of a social worker who wants Lucy placed in foster care.
Faced with a seemingly unwinnable case, Sam vows to fight the legal system and forms an unlikely alliance with Rita Harrison (Michelle Pfeiffer), a high-powered, self-absorbed attorney who initially takes his case pro bona as a challenge from her colleagues. On the surface the two couldn't be further apart, but in reality they are subtly similar. Sam's compulsive nature mirrors Rita's more socially acceptable obsessive-compulsive nature. Her manic need for perfection and success alienates her from her own son and has been slowly destroying her self-worth.
Together they struggle to convince the system that Sam deserves to get his daughter back and, in the process, fuse a bond that results in a unique testament to the power of unconditional love.
New Line Cinema presents I Am Sam, directed by Jessie Nelson from a screenplay by Nelson and Kristine Johnson. Nelson also produces along with Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz and Richard Solomon of the Bedford Falls Company. The executive producers are Claire Rudnick Polstein, Michael De Luca and David Scott Rubin. The film stars Sean Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianne Wiest, Dakota Fanning, Richard Schiff, Loretta Devine and Laura Dern. Rounding out the cast as Sam's loyal group of friends are Doug Hutchison, Stanley DeSantis, Brad Allan Silverman and Joseph Rosenberg.
The film features a soundtrack of contemporary covers of classic Beatles songs, recorded by such acclaimed artists as Sheryl Crow, Eddie Vedder, Ben Harper, Ben Folds, The Wallflowers, Sarah McLachlan and Aimee Mann & Michael Penn.
I Am Sam (rated PG-13 by the M.P.A.A. for "language") will be released in Los Angeles and New York on December 28th, 2001 and wide on January 25th, 2002.
about the story
I Am Sam is a powerful, emotional film about love, parenthood and the bonds of family. "I'm fascinated by what makes a family and how people create that in untraditional ways," says director and co-screenwriter Jessie Nelson. "I think all parents at times feel confused and overwhelmed. It is a common bond between every parent on the planet, whether you're disabled or not. Parents who are disabled provide a unique metaphor for how we're all trying to get through an incredibly challenging world and how we all ultimately need some type of support system."
Raising a child is never easy, but like everybody, Sam Dawson (Academy Award nominee Sean Penn) has learned to adapt. Sam and his daughter Lucy (Dakota Fanning) have gotten through the basics, though not always in the conventional way, with the help of Sam's tightly-knit group of friends....