Sean Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer, Diane Wiest and Laura Dern
Co-Writer/Director: Jessie Nelson
Running Time: 132 mins
Left to raise his
daughter by him self for seven years, Sam (Penn) has tried his best to over
come his disability to raise Lucy in the best way that he can. Now as she
gets older and her needs become more demanding the authorities think that
a man with the same IQ as his own daughter shouldn't be allowed to have
sole custody of the child. With the help of his reluctant lawyer Rita (Pfeiffer),
who has only taken the case to raise her profile in her firm, Sam has to
prove that he can be as good a father as anyone else.
Reading the synopsis
you'd think that his is a movie solely aimed at trying to win awards and
you'd be right. All the major prerequisites are covered. A lead actor on
the top of his game playing a mentally challenged man, a story of injustice
and discrimination against the disabled and big name actors in supporting
roles. The problem is as you watch the film you know that this is the only
thing that the filmmakers had in their minds as they made the movie.
Sean Penn's performance
is worthy of the Oscar nomination he received and is the only strong point
of the film. He captures the character perfectly, but you'd expect this
from an actor of his calibre. Michelle Pfeiffer, who makes too few movies,
seems to be acting by numbers in a role that anyone could have played. Diane
Wiest is very under used and Laura Dern's character is too stereotypical
to be believable.
In the end the movie
just oozes sentimentality and throws in emotional content at you every ten
to fifteen minutes just so you remember that you should be holding back
the tears. What you end up thinking however is that Sean Penn is a great
actor who really wants to win an Oscar and he and everyone else involved
in this production saw it as their big chance to get there hands of one
of those gold statues.