If Sean Penn was an actor who cared for such accolades you’d think his role in I Am Sam was chosen for kudos alone but knowing this notoriously prickly player, you can bet it was for the challenge. Penn is quite incredible as the retarded father of a bright eight year old. Unfortunately he has the mental age of a seven year old. Regardless he’s taken great care of the child and would surpass most fathers with far greater faculties.

Penn not only perfectly takes on the characteristics of the mentally challenged, he bares the soul of the man as well. He’s matched by one of the most extraordinary child actors for some time with Dakota Fanning. She illuminates the screen every time she passes by. Michelle Pfieffer has never been better as the hot and bothered lawyer who takes on the case when little Lucy is removed from her father’s care. And Dianne Wiest is particularly effective as the acrophobic neighbour who plays surrogate mother to this strange family.

I Am Sam can be a bit schmaltzy at times but the honest acting of the cast keeps it real. It also enjoys a sunny soundtrack of Beatles covers played to great effect by contemporary artists.Available from www.totaldvd.com.au for only $35.95, click here.

The Roadshow I Am Sam Competition!

Thanks to Roadshow Home Entertainment, She Said and Total DVD have three copies of I Am Sam to give away. If you want your chance to win, click click here.

Bend It Like Beckham

Bend It Like Beckham kicked a goal this year by becoming the feelgood sleeper hit of the year. Timed to coincide with the 2002 World Cup, this charmer told the unusual story of a British Indian girl who wanted be a soccer player.

The British film industry seems now almost purpose built to produce little charmers like this. There must be some feelgood factory in London somewhere pumping out quirky comedies looking at the lighter side of the British class system. Whether it’s Full Monty or Billy Elliot, these films depict working class strugglers fighting against all odds to make their mark on the world.

Here we have a lower middle class teenager who dreams of kicking a ball around the field like her hero, Posh’s dress-up partner, David Beckham. Unfortunately she’s a girl and an Indian one at that who is expected to learn how to cook not learn how to curve a ball. She joins an all-girl soccer team unbeknownst to her family when she should be preparing for her sister’s wedding.

Writer/director Gurinder Chadha knows the world well and it’s her intimate knowledge that shines from the screen. Her actors seem privy to their characters as well and newcomer Parminder Nagra is a real find. She is so perfectly petulant in this role you want to clip her over the ear hole as much as you want to cheer her on. Her family is played by a delightful group of Asian actors who are hysterical in their attempts to keep their wayward child in line.

Bend It Like Beckham is a a great film made with much love and humour, a feelgood flick that will definitely give you a kick.

Available from www.totaldvd.com.au for only $33.95, click here.