I AM SAM
movie trailer (apple.com - quicktime)
NOTE: This spoiler was sent in by DeanM1216 who says... "Penn's greatest performance yet, and it's hard not to be moved or feel bad for Sam Dawson. And numerous references to the Beatles doesn't hurt either."
The movie begins with Sam Dawson (Sean Penn), a mentally disabled person who works at Starbucks, setting coffee tables and serving the customers. His boss soon tells him that it's time to "go". Sam realizes after a few seconds and goes to the hospital.
His wife/girlfriend gives birth to a baby, and Sam calls it Lucy Diamond Dawson, after the song "Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds". While walking out of the hospital, Sam heads to the bus but is left by the mother at the bus stop, leaving the Lucy in the hands of Sam.
After a few scenes of Sam meeting with his other mentally disabled friends and Lucy's godmother and piano teacher, we fast forward to a now 6-turning-7 Lucy (Dakota Fanning), who's as smart, if not smarter than his father.
One night, Sam talks to a prostitute, unaware of her occupation. He is taken to the station, where they let him go. A social worker notices him.
One day, at Lucy's seventh birthday, her friend Connor tells Sam that Lucy said that she was adopted. Sam tries to settle him, but Connor's father pushes Sam back, thinking Sam was going to hurt Connor. Lucy comes in time with the social worker, and the party is ruined. To make things worse, the social worker is trying to give Lucy a better father. He is taken to court, where he has to present his case in a month, and in the meantime, he can visit Lucy only two times a week for two hours.
Sam has to find a good lawyer, instead of being assigned one. His friends recommend Rita Harrison (Michelle Pfeiffer). Sam goes to Pfeiffer's and is quickly put down because he cannot afford to hire her.
She says that she will "call him when she gets in touch with her friend who can help him."
At a party Pfeiffer is attending, Sam visits, and he is rejected yet again. A few minutes afterward, she tries to explain to her friends that it is a probono case. Her friends laugh at her.
The next day, Sam is at her office again, and her friends are around her. She takes the case for free, to spite her friends. Sam has to go to a court appointed shrink though, so Pfeiffer drives him there.
At the shrink's office, he is told that the confidentiality will be waved. He is asked a few questions.
Then, during Sam's visit to Lucy, Lucy sneaks out of the bathroom and lies to Sam about going to the Park. Instead, Lucy gets Sam on the bus to run away out of fear of seperation. They are caught in the play ground at night. Pfeiffer comes in angry in the station, and convinces the social worker to let it slide. She is mad at Sam, but Lucy says it is her fault.
Before they go to court, Sam needs witnesses to testify that he is a good father. Unfortunately, his friends aren't good enough, and the godmother refuses to testify for some reason.
On the day of the court, the first few witnesses are slammed with questions, including the shrink, who is brought to tears. There is also a witness whose 70-IQ mother brought her up.
Lucy is questioned in a seperate room, and she expresses her love for her father.
The next witness is the godmother,who is effective, but is brought to tears when her parents are mentioned. The next day will be Sam's day at the stand.
They go over to Pfeiffer's house, where we learn she has a son who ignores her but is friendly to Sam, and a father who cheats on her as well. She gives Sam a suit and they rehearse.
On the day of the testimony, Sam starts off convincingly and is promoted to being coffee maker in Starbucks. Anyway, he is broken down when asked if he wants the best for Lucy. It fades out.
Afterwards, Sam can only visit Lucy and has a chance to get her back, if he improves his income. Sam starts to bring flowers to Lucy, but is heartbroken when he sees her with a new foster family. He retreats to his house.
After a while, Pfeiffer comes back to see Sam, who is trapped in his apartment. Pfeiffer admits all of her problems, and that she is not perfect. Sam concurs, and works harder to get his daughter back. Sam visits an angry Lucy, and explains that he didn't forget her. The parents apparently don't like Sam at all.
Sam eventually moves out of his apartment, and into an apartment closer to Lucy, and he meets her another time. The foster mother is still trying to win Lucy over. Sam explains that he is at the number 9 apartment, and makes numerous Beatles references through it.
Lucy's foster mother sees that she is devoted to Sam when Lucy sneaks out of the house. Sam returns her over and over. Lucy's foster mother finally realizes Lucy's love for Sam when Lucy refuses to eat IHOP with her (IHOP is a special bond between Sam and Lucy).
Pfeiffer gives Sam another suit, from when her husband left. Pfeiffer's son is starting to bond with her again.
The night before the evaluation, Lucy's foster mother arrives with Lucy, fast asleep. She explains that Lucy wanted to come over but she fell asleep, but intead of turning around, she wishes to fullfill Lucy's request. She also apologizes for thinking she would say in the courthouse that she would give Lucy the love she never had, because she would be lying if she said so. She leaves Lucy in Sam's arms.
The final scene shows Sam in a soccer field as a ref with Lucy, and they reunite.
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