Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 33 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 96 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: The compelling story of Sam Dawson (Penn), a mentally challenged father raising his daughter Lucy with the help of an extraordinary group of friends. When a social worker suggests that Lucy should be placed in foster care, Sam forms an unlikely alliance with a high-powered attorney (Pfeiffer). 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) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 33
  2. Negative: 19 out of 33
  1. 75
    Penn makes us take the leap required by Kristine Johnson and Jessie Nelson's screenplay -- you end up deeply caring about Sam and Lucy.
  2. The role sounds like a sentimental trap, but Penn doesn't fall into it. It's a sensational performance, and he illumines a movie that sometimes seems in danger of descending into modish Hollywood political correctness.
  3. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    Just don't believe the anti-hype. There are lots of reasons to have a good cry these days -- here's a nice, warm place to get squeezed.
  4. 33
    This isn't an ordinary film built on a remarkable performance; it's a poor one with a gem at its core. Penn can elevate it to mediocrity, but he cannot make it fly.
  5. 30
    Pfeiffer, enormously likable in the role, almost saves the movie. [28 Jan 2002, p. 90]
  6. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Drawn out and dishonest in equal measure, Sam fights it out with "The Majestic" for the title of worst "important" movie of the year.
  7. Actual concussive cranial abuse would be preferable to Jessie Nelson's I Am Sam.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 39 out of 49
  2. Negative: 4 out of 49
  1. Jul 8, 2014
    Truly an amazing Masterpiece, a very deep yet touching movie, i don't always watch a Drama, but this one is Different, i highly recommend it ( it's a must ! ) Expand
  2. SaraiV.
    Oct 13, 2006
    This is the best movie ever!
  3. Feb 27, 2013
    Why don't the critics like this? It was so realistic and wonderful. The critics are being bad at their job. >:l Yes watchers, pretty much all love this. This is EPICCCC Expand
  4. Nov 10, 2010
    A metascore of 28, must be a joke. i never thought my opinion would be so contrary to the critics. it was a beautiful movie and great casting. It is true what Chicago Sun-times wrote that every device of the movie is designed is to convince us Lucy must stay with Sam even though common sense makes it impossible to go the distance with the premise, but this doesn't make it a bad movie. I would recommend it to anybody who looks for a touching movie, which also makes you laugh sometimes. Expand
  5. Nov 28, 2012
    It may be overly sweet, but it's still an engaging film with one of Sean Penn's greatest performances sealed within it.
  6. Sep 27, 2011
    I agree the movie was pretty cheesy and tacky for its taste but seriously, "I am Sam" doesn't deserve this much hate.
  7. Nov 26, 2013
    "You went full retard, man. Never go full retard. You don't buy that? Ask Sean Penn, 2001, "I Am Sam." Remember? Went full retard, went home empty handed..."

    Kirk Lazarus

See all 49 User Reviews