Critical Review Sam I Am Essay

1261 Words Aug 20th, 2012 6 Pages
Critical Review: I Am Sam The movie, I am Sam, is the portrayal of a mentally retarded single parent struggling to maintain custody of his normal intelligence daughter. Within his circle of acquaintances are four special needs adults who are his close friends and two normal intelligence adults who exhibit disordered behavior. The writers, Kristin Johnson and Jessie Nelson, spent months researching and observing developmentally disabled adults in order to provide an accurate representation of the issues faced by the special needs population. The central character is Sam Dawson around whom the movie is woven. Sean Penn, the actor who took the role of Sam, spent time at an organization called LA Goal (Inside Out Productions), a workshop …show more content…
Two of the normal intelligence people in the film appeared more disabled than the above mentioned five characters. Sam’s neighbor, Annie, suffered from agoraphobia and was unable to leave her apartment. Rita, the lawyer who represented Sam in his quest to regain custody of his daughter, was a compulsive stress eater, had anger explosions, was unable to focus, lacked parenting skills, and exhibited relationship issues not only within her marriage but with her staff. The normal people painted a portrait of being more handicapped than the disabled. The plight of Sam to maintain his parental rights is one that is faced by the disabled community not only in the USA but abroad. They lack the support services needed to help them thrive and raise their children. According to O’Keeffe and O’Hara “little is known about the mental health needs of parents with intellectual disabilities.” (O'Keeffe, 2008) Sam exhibited the natural distress any parent would feel having their child forceable removed from their care. He fought the best battle he could against a well meaning social worker, prosecutor, and foster parent. His friends came to his aid to testify on his behalf although their ability to support him was not effective. O’Keeffe and O’Hara also state that in the USA there are approximately 1.4 million mentally retarded parents with children under the age of 18. Their findings are that “It is often not

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