I watched the movie I am Sam to challenge my views about how people with disabilities should be treated under certain circumstances. Sam is a man with mental disability who attempts to raise Lucy all by himself. Sam was diagnosed with Autism when he was 7. His intellectual ability is limited to seven years. As Lucy grows up under Sam's roof, we see her love for him. Social workers see that Lucy is 8 years of age and place Lucy in a temporary home while Sam takes Lucy to court to win her back. Rita, Sam’s lawyer, decided that she would take the case "pro bono" to impress her colleagues. Rita doubts Sam's ability to raise Lucy. She also has reservations about the social workers who want to take her away from Sam. Sam changes her mind and she teaches her that love is the most important thing in raising children. As she begins to see Sam and become a role model for her son's beliefs, she also starts to change her views. This story is a reflection of the difficulties and prejudices that people with disabilities experience every day. In this i am sam movie review essay you can find my opinion on piaget's cognitive development.
As I watched "I am Sam", I noticed several types of prejudice that were directed at Sam. Analyzing the prejudice I saw, I was able to see the reasons the characters might have used. It seems to me that most of the prejudice I observed was due to people feeling "morally superior" than Sam. This was evident at Lucy's birthday party that Sam put together at the beginning. Because Sam was disabled, Lucy's friend looked down upon Sam and accused him of hitting his son. Lucy's temporary foster family tried to get custody of Lucy. Another instance of this rationalization was seen. Although they later realized that Sam was a good father they still believed Sam was not suitable to be a parent due to his disability. Sam was told by the Foster mom, "I'm going do everything I can protect that little girl (Lucy), from getting hurt again." Rita became Sam's first lawyer. She initially thought Sam was irritating and didn't know how she should treat him. So she told him, "I just don’t know what to call him, retarded or mentally retarded," because she didn’t feel like a good enough lawyer to help him. She was showing pride, which is one aspect this rational. The movie brought out many emotions for me. It can be difficult to understand the difficulties that people with disabilities must face, especially those involving their family. I watched this movie by myself. This allowed me to show different perspectives that evolved from the experiences of each character. It was easier for me to relate to the movie than watching movies by themselves. Because it's from Sam's point of view, I felt this movie brought out many emotions. This allowed me to connect with Sam and gain empathy. It also gave me a better understanding of the difficulties people living with mental illness face. Sam's disability was also well represented by the actor who played him. He highlighted the frustration that autistic people face in many situations. When I looked back at my assumptions about disabled people, it became clear that I viewed them as uncompetitive and helpless. As Sam took on unexpected challenges, I felt that I was able to change my assumptions by watching I am Sam. He clearly felt driven to win Lucy back, and did all he could to achieve his goal. It was also evident that those with disabilities are not always dependent. Sam raised a smart and compassionate daughter over seven years. He worked at Starbucks. Sam's story is a great example of how severely disabled people can live a normal life. Sam tells Rita that he thinks he's smarter than Lucy when they prepare for the trial. Rita is then told by Sam that he thinks he's smarter than Lucy in certain ways. Sam shows the confident side of himself. Sam, on the other hand seemed to agree with my assumption that people with disabilities can be fragile in ways unrelated to their disability. After Sam loses his chance of winning his case, we see that Sam is not able to comprehend what it's like. Rita says to Sam, "You don’t know what it’s like when you try. You try and you don’t get there." Because I was born this way. People like you don’t understand what it’s like to be hurt because you don’t feel anything. People like you don’t feel anything." Many people think that disabled people lack emotion or feelings, or that they are just unable to feel. Sam seems to believe that sadness is part of Sam's disability. But, he isn't aware that all people experience intense emotions. Sam doesn't realize that anyone who loses their child would feel the same as he. I was puzzled by his statement and wondered how disabled people see able-bodied people. Sam also confirmed one of my assumptions, that disabled people are more comfortable with each other than abled people. Sam's closest friends are all disabled. These characters are shown in a positive light as they work together to win Lucy back. Sam seemed to be able to get along with them better than any other character in the movie. While watching I am Sam, I was able apply many of the ideas and topics we had discussed in class to various characters and situations. This film offers a perspective on how society treats people with disabilities due to stereotypes. We can see the many assumptions that people make about Sam throughout the movie, as he is presented in both positive and negatively. There are times when Sam seems to bother society throughout the film. Sometimes he is a hero. Social workers believed Sam wasn't capable of raising Lucy. This was the fundamental attribution error. Fundamental attribution errors occur when we underestimate the impact of situational factors and overestimate the influence personality traits have. Social workers failed to recognize that every parent who raises a child will face difficulties. Sam's disability was the main focus. Rita explores the topic as she brings out emotions from the opposing counsel. Rita says, "Ever parent that I have spoken with has had moments when the task was so unbelievably difficult...that you feel retarded...disabled somehow." Rita stresses that the best quality of parenting is loving your child. Society's negative view of people with different abilities leads to the division of "normal" and “different" categories. There are many themes in I am Sam. But the one that stuck out most to me was Rita's new outlook on life due to Sam. The film was a great representation of what one can learn by listening to others. A lack of exposure to an outside-group can lead to stereotypes. How can one expect to interact with persons with disabilities if they have never had to experience it? Films can help to create an image of disabled people but I believe I am Sam does a great job of helping people understand people with these disorders.