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I Am Sam and It's Approach Towards Mental Illness

Updated on November 11, 2018
Zoya Dawar Agha profile image

Zoya is a fresh graduate from Forman Christian College/University and has been a student of psychology for six years.

This movie is stylized in a way that directly brings The Beatles to your mind. The entire soundtrack consists of their songs covered by various artists. Interestingly, it also revolves around their most famous song “All you need is love”. Basically, it puts forward the unaddressed question “Is love all that’s necessary to be a good parent to a child?”

“Is love all that’s necessary to be a good parent to a child?”

The most intriguing part of the movie is the life comparisons they portray between two parents losing their connectivity with their child: Sam Dawson and His lawyer, Rita. But both of them experience this loss in completely different ways. Rita’s relationship is compromised by her husband’s deception and her extremely busy life while Sam’s autism becomes a problem when his daughter’s mental age exceeds his. Rita learns a lot from Sam and that’s the beauty of life. Sometimes, we are so far ahead in a picture that we miss out the little things that matter. We fail to gather a holistic picture and continuously strive to complete it, missing out what matters the most. Someone with a mental age of seven understood it but a well-established lawyer missed out. So in a way, that answered whether exceeding the mental age of his daughter limits his capabilities of being a good parent or does it actually help him be a better one?

Whether exceeding the mental age of his daughter limits his capabilities of being a good parent or does it actually help him be a better one?

Moreover, the movie captures the essence of Sam Dawson’s life beautifully. Many people assume that autists are rude, indifferent and lack feelings. I Am Sam challenges the stereotypes of autism and presents the idea how they can even be fit enough to be a parent. It also used warmers tones in scenes where Sam is with his daughter, depicting how he feels for her, and used blue cold shades in scenes where he was uncomfortable, for example, the scene in the supermarket, courtroom and hospital.

Moreover, the movie captures the essence of Sam Dawson’s life beautifully. Many people assume that autists are rude, indifferent and lack feelings. I Am Sam challenges the stereotypes of autism and presents the idea how they can even be fit enough to be a parent. It also used warmers tones in scenes where Sam is with his daughter, depicting how he feels for her, and used blue cold shades in scenes where he was uncomfortable, for example, the scene in the supermarket, courtroom and hospital.

Lastly, this movie shows many of the struggles people with autism face. Sam is a person who faces the challenges his disability brings forth, for example in social situations or changes in routine, but overcomes them by using coping strategies like sticking to environments and social groups where he is welcomed, valued and comfortable. Another example is that he finds difficulty reading and to overcome that He gains comfort with material he can master and uses it to "read" bedtime stories to the child he loves with all his heart. Sam Dawson, a man with a disability, knows it all- he knows what his priorities are and he knows what he lives for.

Hence, it reflects a human component of autism that most of us fail to see. Strangely, many of us do not have that figured out and we have so many things in our lives that push us away farther away from them. This man life shows a lesson of life all of us should remember-Make it simple but significant.

Awareness of mental illnesses and I Am Sam

A lot of movies have presented an empathetic side of disorders. It has helped to create awareness among people and has truly changed attitudes that people had adapted towards people with mental disorders.

I Am Sam is definitely a great contributor to this cause. It suggests how mental illness should not be targetted as something that should marginalize people. There is a significant change that these times require.

It also puts great emphasis on how stereotyping can go completely wrong. Not only does this benefit people suffering with mental disorders, but it also benefits the society as a whole.

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