I Am Sam (2001)
The intentions are good and the film is both good-hearted, warm, well-paced and wonderfully acted. But Kristine Johnson and Jessie Nelson's script is extremely naïve and suffers from it. It was a good idea to approach and convey this story from a simple and earthy point-of-view (as if partly seen from Sam's perspective), but it isn't the perspective that is the problem here, it is the entire nature of the story. There is a mother whose carelessness is not accounted for, there is a non-existent social service system that at first is implicitly criticized for not being there, and then for taking affair when it does, and there is a girl whose wisdom goes beyond reason. To boil it down: All very plot. That is too bad, because with a bit more reasonable angle, this film could have been really effective, and it would have made the sentimental pay-off scenes even more powerful. Because, yes, there is a lot of emotion and dramatic value in this film. And a fine display by Sean Penn and Dakota Fanning in the leads gives us several valuable and truly moving moments.