Parent and Child Relationships Essay
Parent and Child Relationships
“I Am Sam” is a powerfully touching film that tells the story of a parent and child’s love for one another. It shows that love is pure, and that no matter how great the mind is, love is even greater. The film’s protagonist is Sam, a mentally-challenged adult with a mental age of 7. Sam has a daughter, Lucy, with a prostitute who left them. Sam works at the local Starbucks to support Lucy, and everything is going along well until Lucy turned 7, because she already surpassed her father’s mental abilities.
This creates problems, because early on we see that Lucy is precocious and inquisitive, and she is no longer satisfied with her father’s nonsense answers to her questions. When she starts wanting to read more difficult books than what Sam reads to her, she fakes having difficulty reading so as not to offend her father and make him feel inferior. On Sam’s part, even when he sees that Lucy is already growing up, he tries his best to support her the best way he knows how.
Lucy does not see this yet because she is still a child, but she understands that her father is different, but she loves him because he is a very loving father who takes her out to the park and to eat pancakes and generally takes good care of her. Later in the film she is embarrassed when her classmates tease her that her father is a retard that she denies him and tells them that she is adopted. The authorities take her away from Sam, and later on sent to a foster home. When the authorities take Lucy away from him, he does everything he could to get her back.
He even gets the fearsome lawyer Rita to help his cause. Rita, a successful and stringent lawyer who values winning more than anything, decides to take Sam’s case just to prove that she is not as selfish as she looks. Through the course of helping Sam, she realizes that Sam is a good father, that Sam’s mental inadequacy has not hampered his ability to love and care for his daughter at all. That in fact, he is a better parent than she is. When at first she sought to win Sam’s case because she did not want to lose, eventually Rita sympathizes with Sam’s cause.
Sam visits Lucy regularly, and Lucy realizes that she wants her father back, and that she is going to fight back just to be with him, even if she is smarter than him, even if the world laughs at her for having a retard for a father. At this moment, Lucy has matured, and although she is just 7, she has taken responsibility not only of her own actions, but also decided that she will take care of her father when he could no longer take care of her, that she needs to be smart and capable and strong for the both of them. She saw just how much her father loves her and how he does not give up on her even when she denied him.
However, even with Rita’s help, Sam loses the custody battle at court. Sam breaks down as he is convinced that he cannot take care of his own daughter. All this time, he was doing everything he could, enlisting the help of his friends and employers and colleagues to prove that he has what it takes to raise his daughter, but he finally accepts the fact that he is mentally inadequate to give her needs. If he really loves his daughter, he would do what is best for her even if it means letting go of her so that she could be the best that she could be.
And Sam does that. He accepts that he cannot take care of Lucy, but even when he concedes, he does not give up on being a father to her. He moves in to an apartment just to be nearer to Lucy, so that even if he cannot raise her at least he could be there for her whenever she needed him, and so that he could watch her grow up. Lucy is hurt that she cannot be with her father, but she takes matters on her own hands, Late at night she sneaks out of her foster home to be with her father.
Her foster parents find her out, and she does not deny that she longs to be with her father, even if they think that they can be better parents than him. Eventually, the foster parents let her go back to Sam, for Sam to have custody of her. The film tells us that love is great driving force that cannot be measured by financial success, or by intellectual achievements. Society may look at Sam as a retarded, inadequate man, but he fought for his daughter against all odds, when Lucy’s own mother simply walked out and left them.
Lucy was smarter than Sam, but she learned about love from her father because he showered her with it. That is why even when she was presented with a better future with a “better” set of parents, she still chooses to go back to Sam, because she knows that her father loves her and she loves him. At the end, the film teaches us what a parent can give best to his child, and what a child needs most from a parent – love. And that is something that cannot be bought or substituted with material things, because children will always know if their parents have shown them enough love.