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A Movie Guide to Mental Illnesses

People have different perceptions about mental illnesses. Some may attribute the said illness to be a hindrance for others to make it big in life. However, the incapability of people with mental illnesses are exaggerated, making others see their talents and contributions to society. The movie, “I Am Sam” was a film that showcased the other side of mentally retarded individuals, and what they can do for society. “I Am Sam” was a film that chronicled the life of Sam Dawson, a mentally challenged father, who raised his daughter despite of his condition. Unlike other fathers, Sam’s mental state was similar to that of a 7-year old child.

In addition to this, his daughter, Lucy, was slowly becoming intellectually capable than her father. This placed their relationship in trouble, for the Social Services believe that Sam could not care for his daughter because of his condition. Because of this, his ability of becoming a father was questioned, which he had to prove to court and to himself. All throughout the film, viewers would become aware of the numerous symptoms of Sam’s condition. The way he talks is somewhat similar to that of a child, and simple words had to be used when conversing with him.

In so doing, Sam’s boss and co-workers at Starbucks had to make sure that he followed instructions given to him. Furthermore, co-workers also supervised the way he worked so as not to compromise the quality of product given to the clients. Like any other mentally challenged individual, Sam expressed his emotions greatly. This was particularly given attention in the film. During the whole duration of the film, it may be seen that Sam goes to IHOP every Wednesday with his daughter. He got accustomed to how food was served to him, that when they wet to Big Boy, Sam became upset.

He started to give tantrums that caught the attention of many. Furthermore, he also believes that he is in some kind of world where things were how he wanted them to be. In so doing, he went to his daughter’s school party dressed as Paul McCartney, which also caused his daughter’s embarrassment. Although he is unaware of the societal stipulations set for people, Sam still believes that he is own individual capable of doing things. In so doing, Sam is unaware of the mental difficulty he is facing, for his closest friends have similar problems as him. Unfortunately, not everyone in the film was able to understand Sam’s condition.

People present in Lucy’s school party also criticized Sam for his actions. This was also exhibited when Sam was upset at the Big Boy restaurant. What was more heartbreaking was the fact that his capabilities of being a father were put in the line. Social services questioned Sam’s ability to care for his daughter because of his condition. Furthermore, there were some people who saw Sam’s ability to become a father. Sam’s lawyer, Rita, helped him in fighting for her daughter’s custody. In so doing, Sam also helped Rita in fixing her deteriorating relationship with her son.

Through Sam’s simple mind, Rita was able to realize that beyond her complexities in life, she was a mother who outgrew her son’s needs. From everything that has been shown in the film, it is evident that the film showed the different sides of how mentally challenged individuals go through life. I must say that the film was able to stick with the realities attributed to mentally challenged individuals. The symptoms and actions of the characters in the film were based on how the said people would react; even hiring mentally challenged people to be included in the film. This is one of the films that I would recommend for all ages.

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