Sunday, April 22, 2012

Divorce and Custody Movie Review - I am Sam

Today I review I am Sam from my collection of divorce, child custody and child support related movies.

I am Sam [2001] Written by Kristine Johnson and Jessie Nelson. Directed by Nelson. Sean Penn plays a father who has the intellectual capacity of a child only age 7 who is suddenly thrust into being a single father when the mother abandons the child at birth. The film is peppered with abstract references to Kramer v Kramer but naturally does not involve the confrontation between the birth parents.

Michelle Pfiffer portrays a self-absorbed attorney who Penn seeks to have represent him in the custody battle. Unable to afford her services, Penn is dismissed by Pfiffer who, with no intention to, says she will try to find someone to help him. She is pursued by Penn and eventually she takes the case pro bono in an effort to save face in front of her colleagues.

The film provides a visual context to the problems of dual-earner parents that I have written about where consumerism and materialism exceeds the needs of the child. Dakota Fanning is outstanding as the child in her early elementary years. The courtroom scenes are generally portrayed in a manner reflective of real-life situations.

This film should help to open the eyes of the general public about the stoic, non-comforting procedural rapid-fire caseload dispositions that is often employed by courts. The initial custody hearing is accurately portrayed and subtly highlights the effective use of a false-arrest and false allegations against a parent in a child custody battle.

Penn's character, while not fully able to provide the best parenting, makes an apt effort and provides valuable insight on what it takes to be a good parent.

Director of Photography Elliot Davis and Editor Richard Chew do a fine job of using camera movement and angles pieced together in a manner that immerses the viewer in the film and the emotional state of the players. This is a must see movie for anyone facing a contentious custody placement proceeding, especially one involving third party agencies.

If there is a movie that you would like reviewed please send a request to me. The complete list of movies I have reviewed may be viewed here.

If you need assistance with parenting time, custody or support issues please visit my website and contact my scheduler to make an appointment to meet with me.

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More information about child custody rights and procedures may be found on the Indiana Custodial Rights Advocates website.

©2012 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

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