Sam is an intellectually disabled man whose place in society is questioned regularly as many members of society look down on him as a person and a parent, judging him and alienating him and showing him that he doesn’t belong. These opinions are strengthened in a scene where Sam’s daily routine is partially altered when he takes Lucy to Big Boy instead of IHOP and is unable to get his usual order; he has a mental break down and this reaction from the slight change only reinforces to the rest of society that as a mentally disabled man, Sam doesn’t belong as a regular part of society.
As a director of the film, Nelson uses different colours as a technique to convey emotion and create the feeling of belonging or not belonging. When Sam and Lucy are together the colours are bright which creates a warm, welcoming atmosphere showing that he belongs.
Although in contrary scenes where he wishes to make it seem as though Sam doesn’t belong, such as in the courtroom scenes where Lucy, the one person who makes him feel as though he belongs is taken from him, he creates a sad and dark atmosphere turning the colours dark and this to be more emotional.
Background music is used to control the mood and atmosphere of the film and is used as an instrument to represent the sense of belonging and not belonging Sam feels. This technique is shown in the beginning of the film when Sam’s routine has to change and he rushes to hospital in order to see the birth of his daughter, the music is turned to a frantic percussion beat representing the feeling of stress and desperate nature of the situation he is in.
Throughout the movie this quick pace percussion beat continuous emphasising the stress for Sam in particular scenes when he feels stressed or as though he doesn’t belong, like at the time when he realises Lucy is holding back her education because of him in order to make him feel smarter the beat represents his quickening heart rate, which is how Nelson used sound to reinforce mood and atmosphere. Nelson also uses props to show the loving nature of the relationship between Lucy and Sam. A scene where this is depicted is when they are on the swings together at the park, Nelson uses doves, which is a symbol of love, flying across the sky above them at the beginning of the scene in a birds-eye view camera shot which symbolizes the everlasting love between them. Another camera technique used to convey love between Lucy and Sam is conveyed when the camera zooms in on Sam and Lucy who are holding hands showing that despite his intellectual incapability she accepts and loves her father regardless.