I Am Sam

User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 118 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 81 out of 118
  2. Negative: 13 out of 118

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User Reviews

  1. Sep 27, 2011
    4
    I agree the movie was pretty cheesy and tacky for its taste but seriously, "I am Sam" doesn't deserve this much hate.
  2. Gilbert
    Nov 20, 2002
    5
    Why do critics insist on drawing unfavourable parallels with genuine, horrifying physical pain? "Corrective Cranial Abuse would be better than I Am Sam"; well, no, it wouldn't, actually. It's just a film. Not a very good film (there is no reason, not a one reason, why it should be two hours and ten minutes long) but not entirely without merit - Sean Penn's great (autopilot Why do critics insist on drawing unfavourable parallels with genuine, horrifying physical pain? "Corrective Cranial Abuse would be better than I Am Sam"; well, no, it wouldn't, actually. It's just a film. Not a very good film (there is no reason, not a one reason, why it should be two hours and ten minutes long) but not entirely without merit - Sean Penn's great (autopilot notwithstanding) and it's heart's in the right place. Its chest. Behind its ribcage. Expand
  3. ChadS.
    Jan 30, 2002
    4
    Instead of compassion, I felt irritation towards Sam, which is not the intent of the director since the film's aim is to jerk tears. Bad customer service and being behind someone who is slow in paying the cashier are situations that annoy us. That Sam is the cause of these two inconveniences is a mistake on the screenwriter's part. Pfeiffer rescues this film.
  4. BlaineH.
    Apr 8, 2002
    6
    Sean Penn portrayed a perfect picture of the hardships and difficulty involved in being mentaly challenged.
  5. Beercan
    Jan 12, 2005
    4
    I Am Sam is so focused on drawing audience tears and hitting them with a "message" that it forgets to become a real movie. As the retarded father trying to raise his daughter, Sean Penn is somehow both magnetic and utterly excruciating. So's the movie.
  6. BrentR.
    Jun 21, 2002
    5
    Although a completly watchable movie... Sean Penn gives a repeat performance of Dustin Hoffman's Rain Man. Also the story is completely absurd and would never happen that way.
  7. JeffM.
    Aug 13, 2002
    4
    Occasionally competent, often embarrasing. The second half of the film isn't half bad, but it's hard to forgive the fact that the filmaker is trying to wring tears out of almost every single scene. The movie spends the first 2 acts demonstrating why Sam (albeit a nice enough person) is not fit to raise the child beyond her attained age, then spends the final 3rd expecting you to Occasionally competent, often embarrasing. The second half of the film isn't half bad, but it's hard to forgive the fact that the filmaker is trying to wring tears out of almost every single scene. The movie spends the first 2 acts demonstrating why Sam (albeit a nice enough person) is not fit to raise the child beyond her attained age, then spends the final 3rd expecting you to root for him to win the case. Collapse
Metascore
28

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 33
  2. Negative: 19 out of 33
  1. Time
    Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    40
    As the director of this noble weepie, Nelson so overuses visual tricks -- zooms, zip pans and multiple perspectives on a simple scene -- that she turns the viewer into an exasperated parent; this is a directorial style in need of a spanking.
  2. 40
    By-the-numbers Oscar bait -- but Penn does manage, against such odds, to make us see Sam as a person, not a performance.
  3. 30
    Contrived, manipulative and shamelessly sentimental, this film is notable for the courageous reach of Sean Penn, who gives a bold, heartfelt performance.