I Am Sam Reviews

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Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
January 25, 2002
Every device of the movie's art is designed to convince us Lucy must stay with Sam, but common sense makes it impossible to go the distance with the premise.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
December 25, 2001
It glosses over reality on so many occasions that it's hard to take seriously.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Nell Minow
Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies
February 1, 2002
We're in the land of "minority or disabled people as magical healers," and that is never a healthy place to be for too long.
| Original Score: 3/5
Donald Munro
Fresno Bee
January 25, 2002
It can't overcome a strong, cloying feel that comes from watching someone pretend to be mentally retarded.
Top Critic
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
December 21, 2001
Raises important issues about the mental handicapped and nontraditional families that deserve a much smarter examination.
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
January 10, 2002
[P]lays like a made-for-TV weeper with an A-list cast.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul)
St. Paul Pioneer Press
January 24, 2002
The movie sentimentalizes Sam, showing what's adorable about him but not how he might also be exasperating.
Eric D. Snider
EricDSnider.com
January 30, 2002
Rather than go the long way around to your emotions -- you know, with sympathetic characters and good writing -- it uses movie shortcuts like retarded people and cute kids.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
Victoria Alexander
FilmsInReview.com
January 24, 2002
I Am Sam is a mess. Sean Penn gives a studied, thoughtful performance, but the story is just terrible and written, no doubt, to accommodate several agendas.
Frank Ochieng
Movie Eye
March 4, 2002
The mawkish script and intrusive direction practically cripples the effective efforts put forth by Penn's sensitive acting. I Am Sam, quite frankly, is simplistic and needlessly sugar-coated.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Nick Rogers
Suite101.com
September 25, 2010
Sean Penn gives the most professionally shameful, cruelly wrongheaded performance ever nominated for a Best Actor Oscar, while Jessie Nelson Kristine Johnson's script lives down to Penn's ugly ineptitude with idiotic catchphrases and product placement.
Full Review | Original Score: 0/4
Bob Bloom
Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)
January 25, 2002
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Rob Blackwelder
SPLICEDWire
December 27, 2001
an insufferably mawkish, mentally-challenged melodrama of self-aggrandizing proportions.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
MaryAnn Johanson
Flick Filosopher
January 15, 2002
We're not supposed to consider how a man with the mental ability of a second-grader and no apparent outside emotional support except for an agoraphobic neighbor manages to bring a child through helpless infancy and into robust childhood.
Jeanne Aufmuth
Palo Alto Weekly
January 21, 2002
"Sam" gives good melodrama, but pushes too many TV-disease-of-the-week hot buttons.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Arthur Lazere
culturevulture.net
January 23, 2002
The only real plus in "I Am Sam" is in the acting... But Barrymore and the Duse herself could not salvage this script.
Sean Axmaker
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
January 24, 2002
...two hours-plus of numbing melodramatic nothingness drowned in the sticky, sweet syrup Sam loves so much on his waffles. This has more than even he could choke down.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
Carlo Cavagna
AboutFilm.com
January 31, 2002
The problem with dismissing I AM SAM as a treacly Hollywood construct is that the acting is superb, tour-de-force stuff.
Full Review | Original Score: C
Jeremy Heilman
MovieMartyr.com
March 5, 2002
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Betty Jo Tucker
ReelTalk Movie Reviews
May 30, 2002
Practically everything about Sam's friends comes across as too cute and condescending.
Sam Adams
Philadelphia City Paper
February 15, 2002
Stephen Himes
Film Snobs
October 17, 2002
Michael Szymanski
Zap2it.com
February 24, 2004
Top Critic
Geoff Andrew
Time Out
June 24, 2006
Rich Cline
Shadows on the Wall
August 12, 2002
Kevin N. Laforest
Montreal Film Journal
September 10, 2002
Cynthia Fuchs
Nitrate Online
January 25, 2002
Christopher Tookey
Daily Mail [UK]
December 15, 2003
Top Critic

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
January 26, 2002

Hollywood.com
March 2, 2002

Boston Phoenix
March 24, 2002

FilmFour.com
May 14, 2002

Guardian
May 26, 2002

Sight and Sound
June 18, 2012
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