My Name Is Sam
In this story about an Amish family struggling with the upbringing of a boy born with an enigmatic mental disorder, they are gripped by fear and astonishment when they witness the boy has unusual artistic abilities. The mother and father are deeply concerned since their strict Amish religion, teaches that any form of artistic expression is forbidden.
I watched this movie, My Name is Sam 4 times in one week. I do not typically watch any movie twice but this one touched me deeply. The generational cycles of any behavior exist for a very long time and are passed from one generation to the next. This movie shinned light on many issues my family has and is still facing and I now can see the lines the behaviors have come from more clearly. It gives me a new understanding of why and how people do what they do, which helps me show more grace and forgiveness. Thank you for a wonderful movie about real life.
If I could give a 10+ I would! This movie really touched my heart and soul. A real struggle of an amish boy who become an AWESOME man! A HUGE thank you for this AMAZING movie! YOU ALL ROCK!
I was born and raised Amish. I lived this life. I cried through most of this movie.
This film accurately portrayed the Amish lifestyle, but I believe Sam was not autistic given the fact that he was over the age one normally shows signs of autism, and his behavior came along only after severe social deprivation. He himself was able to identify the trigger. Having your mother not speak to you at an age when you need a mother's love and caring is very traumatic for a child of around 8 or 9 and then seeing an animal slaughtered, and the abuse at school I'm sure all contributed to his reaction. He probably did develop Obsessive Compulsive Disorder after these traumas as well as PTSD. He did not seem to have any sensory issues and clearly wanted affection. He very astutely understood at a young age how much power the church had over the Amish in the community, even over his parents, who for a long time felt powerless to do anything about it. OCD is often a way that people react in an attempt to control that which is not under control, so it makes sense that given the fact he felt his parents were unable to protect him he would revert to ritualistic behavior, and his saying goodbye to his rulers and pencils was his way of transitioning from a more permissive environment where he was being nurtured at least by the teacher, to a much stricter environment at home where self-expression, learning, science, and enjoyment were forbidden.
In an environment where any minor infraction could get one into trouble I can see why he feared being hurt or killed. I remember watching the show "Breaking Amish" in which Rebecca talked about her teeth being pulled forcible as a teen without any anesthesia. She said that was quite commonly done as a way to prevent "vanity" in girls coming of age (and that was much later than when this movie took place).
I suspect there were alot of horrendous abuses left out of this movie to spare watchers the horrors that went on in that community.
I'm glad that the parents decided to put their family first and leave the Amish so their children could have a better life, and that they ultimately supported Sam's art, which is really breathtaking, by the way!
David M. Ross
I would encourage anyone who wants to know more about the Amish to view this movie. It takes us into the family and church dynamics that control nearly every aspect of their lives. The story is riveting, the acting is great, and the cinematography is superb. It was a special treat to see the real Sam acting the part of his father Jacob. For those of us who have friends and/or relatives among the Amish, it was obvious that he played the part with great authenticity.
Being born and raised Amish, there were a few things that were different in my own community, however, throughout the story, I felt this. I was transported in a way to my own childhood and that way of life that I cannot begin to describe to people. I am definitely going to recommend it to a few people.