- Critical Dissonance: In spite of the critics being most unfavorable to it, the film actually has respectable audience ratings on sites like Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb.
- Glurge: Many viewers felt that the movie was not only blatant Oscar Bait, but way too emotionally manipulative and anvilicious to truly work.
- Heartwarming Moments: While many moments blend with Tearjerker, several parts are unconditionally sweet. A standout scene is where Sam figures out that Lucy has been hiding her reading ability from him. Lucy tells Sam she doesn't want to read if he can't read, but he says that he loves seeing her read and grow and that it makes him happy.
- Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: While the film is often accused of exaggerating too much for the sake of drama, there are some handicapped people who share Sam's frustration with trying their absolute hardest to be a functioning member of society and, for whatever reason, failing no matter what.
- Strawman Has a Point: More than a few critics and viewers couldn't help agreeing with the "bad guys" that, no matter how wonderful of a person Sam was, he wasn't capable of raising a child. Having said that, it's clear at the end that the foster family is still in the picture, even if Sam is legally the father. Presumably they help out with the various things that he can't handle by himself, but the movie didn't make that explicit.
- Tearjerker: Nearly all the way.
- "Weird Al" Effect: Nowadays the only time someone ever brings up the film is due to the Tropic Thunder reference.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: I am Sam. Sam I am. Make absolutely sure you don't get confused by that.
YMMV / I Am Sam