I Am Sam (stylized i am sam) is a 2001 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Jessie Nelson, and starring Sean Penn as a father with an intellectual disability, Dakota Fanning as his bright and inquisitive daughter, and Michelle Pfeiffer as his lawyer. Dianne Wiest, Loretta Devine, Richard Schiff, and Laura Dern appear in supporting roles.


Sam Dawson (Sean Penn), a man with an intellectual disability, is the single father of Lucy (Dakota Fanning) who is an 8-year-old second grader following their abandonment by her mother, a homeless woman whom Sam had a sexual encounter with. Sam is well-adjusted and has a supportive group of friends with disabilities, as well as a kind, agoraphobic neighbor, Annie (Dianne Wiest), who takes care of Lucy when Sam cannot. Though Sam provides a loving place for precocious Lucy, she soon surpasses his mental ability.