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I Am Sam (2001)
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I Am Sam (2001)

Sam Dawson has the mental capacity of a 7-year-old. He works at a Starbucks and is obsessed with the Beatles. He has a daughter with a homeless woman; she abandons them as soon as they leave the hospital. He names his daughter Lucy Diamond (after the Beatles song), and raises her. But as she reaches … age 7 herself, Sam's limitations start to become a problem at school; she's intentionally holding back to avoid looking smarter than him. The authorities take her away, and Sam shames high-priced lawyer Rita Harrison into taking his case pro bono. In the process, he teaches her a great deal about love, and whether it's really all you need. (Read More)

Themes:
father loveautismdisabilityadoptioneducationobsessiondivorceangerfearkidnappinglovefriendship
Locations:
los angeles californiatunnelcourtroomswimming poolschoolrestauranthospital
Characters:
new babylittle girlself deprecationsingle fathersingle motherreference to godlawyerbabygirlteacherprostitutechildrenfriendfather daughter relationshiphusband wife relationship …mother son relationshipfamily relationshipspolice (See All)
Story:
custody hearingcustody battlechild custodyanxiety attackstarbucks coffeemaking coffeecoffee shopsoccer refereegirls' soccersoccer matchtoy pianohalloween partychildren's bookhalloween costumefemale lawyer …girl scout cookiesbirthday partygirl scoutschool recessdog walkingboy dog relationshipabbey road album cover recreationdog walkermentally challenged malementally handicapped manchanging a baby's diapercrossing fingersstuffed rabbitchild endangermentyellow pagessecond jobabusive childhooddr seusspizza hutbarred window7 elevenreference to paul mccartneypro bonoseven year oldsocial servicessitting in a treepatiencefoster motherfoster parentpaper airplanecheckersshoe storereference to john lennonorigamifoster homefoster childfoster carebedtime storycustodyoverhead shotpillow fightclimbing out a windowthe beatleswatching a videolearningdown syndromelocked doorporschehandicaprhyme in titlefatherhoodcostume partyunhappinessmental retardationscooterparenthoodcartoon on tvsocial workerhandheld cameraswinglostanxietyshoessufferingattorneystupiditycheating husbandcompassionbirthpsychologisttape recorderrecordingslow motionballoonanswering machinehuggingsingle parentfreeze framerunawayhateobscene finger gesturesadnesscourtu.s. presidentreadingparkpaincoffeejudgemontagecaliforniasoccerhalloweenclassroompianoneighborbirthdayrunningtearsbookpaintingarrestwatching tvtitle directed by femalecryingdancingcharacter name in titlef rateddogkiss (See All)

White Oleander (2002)
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White Oleander (2002)

Astrid Magnussen is a 15 year old girl, living in California. Her mother, Ingrid, is a beautiful, free-spirited poet. Their life, though unusual, is satisfying until one day, a man named Barry Kolker (that her mother refers to at first as "The goat man") comes into their lives, and Ingrid falls madl …y in love with him, only to have her heart broken, and her life ruined. For revenge, Ingrid murders Barry with the deadly poison of her favourite flower: The White Oleander. She is sent to prison for life, and Astrid has to go through foster home after foster home. Throughout nearly a decade she experiences forbidden love, religion, near-death experiences, drugs, starvation, and how it feels to be loved. But throughout these years, she keeps in touch with her mother via letters to prison. And while Ingrid's gift is to give Astrid the power to survive, Astrid's gift is to teach her Mother about love. (Read More)

Themes:
divorceangerlovefriendship
Locations:
los angeles californiacourtroomswimming poolschoolrestaurant
Characters:
single motherreference to godlawyergirlteacherprostitutefriendfather daughter relationshiphusband wife relationshipmother son relationshipfamily relationshipspolice
Story:
social servicesfoster parentfoster homefoster childcartoon on tvcompassionrunawaycourtjudgecaliforniaclassroomtearspaintingarrestwatching tv …cryingkiss (See All)

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Kramer Vs. Kramer (1979)
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Kramer Vs. Kramer (1979)

Ted Kramer is a career man for whom his work comes before his family. His wife Joanna cannot take this anymore, so she decides to leave him. Ted is now faced with the tasks of housekeeping and taking care of himself and their young son Billy. When he has learned to adjust his life to these new respo …nsibilities, Joanna resurfaces and wants Billy back. Ted, however, refuses to give him up, so they go to court to fight for the custody of their son. (Read More)

Themes:
divorceangerfriendship
Locations:
courtroomrestauranthospital
Characters:
single fathersingle motherlawyerhusband wife relationshipmother son relationshipfamily relationships
Story:
custody battlechild custodybirthday partycustodycartoon on tvsingle parenthatecourtjudgehalloweenneighborwatching tvcharacter name in title

Gifted (2017)
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Gifted (2017)

Frank Adler (Chris Evans) is a single man raising a child prodigy - his spirited young niece Mary (Mckenna Grace) in a coastal town in Florida. Frank's plans for a normal school life for Mary are foiled when the seven-year-old's mathematical abilities come to the attention of Frank's formidable moth …er Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) whose plans for her granddaughter threaten to separate Frank and Mary. Octavia Spencer plays Roberta, Frank and Mary's landlady and best friend. Jenny Slate is Mary's teacher, Bonnie, a young woman whose concern for her student develops into a connection with her uncle as well. (Read More)

Themes:
obsessionangerfearfriendship
Locations:
courtroomswimming poolschoolrestauranthospital
Characters:
reference to godlawyergirlteacherfriendfather daughter relationshiphusband wife relationshipmother son relationshipfamily relationships
Story:
custody hearingchild custodyfoster homesadnesscourtjudgemontageclassroompianoneighborrunningwatching tvdancingkiss

Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) is one of the best movies like I Am Sam (2001)
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Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

Eccentric actor Daniel Hillard is an amusing and caring father. But after a disastrous birthday party for his son, Daniel's wife Miranda draws the line and files a divorce. He can see his three children only once a week which doesn't sit well with him. Daniel also holds a job at a TV studio as a shi …pping clerk under the recommendation of his liason. But when Miranda puts out an ad for a housekeeper, Daniel takes it upon himself to make a disguise as a Scottish lady named Mrs Doubtfire. And Daniel must also deal with Miranda's new boyfriend Stu Dunemyer. (Read More)

Themes:
divorce
Locations:
courtroomswimming poolrestaurant
Characters:
single fathersingle motherlawyerchildrenfather daughter relationshipmother son relationshipfamily relationships
Story:
custody battlefemale lawyerbirthday partycustodyfatherhoodparenthoodobscene finger gesturejudgesoccerbirthdaycharacter name in title

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Children Of Heaven (1997)
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Children Of Heaven (1997)

Zahra's shoes are gone; her older brother Ali lost them. They are poor, there are no shoes for Zahra until they come up with an idea: they will share one pair of shoes, Ali's. School awaits. Will the plan succeed?

Themes:
friendshiplove
Locations:
school
Characters:
little girlbabygirlchildrenfriendfather daughter relationshiphusband wife relationshipmother son relationshipfamily relationships
Story:
school recesslostshoesslow motionsoccerclassroomneighborrunningtearswatching tvcryingdog

Adam (2009)
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Adam (2009)

Soon after moving in, Beth, a brainy, beautiful writer damaged from a past relationship encounters Adam, the handsome, but odd, fellow in the downstairs apartment whose awkwardness is perplexing. Beth and Adam's ultimate connection leads to a tricky relationship that exemplifies something universal: … truly reaching another person means bravely stretching into uncomfortable territory and the resulting shake-up can be liberating. (Read More)

Themes:
autismadoptionfear
Locations:
courtroomschoolrestaurant
Characters:
little girllawyerbabyteacherchildrenfather daughter relationshiphusband wife relationshippolice
Story:
children's bookanxietyanswering machinehuggingcourtreadingparkjudgecaliforniaclassroomneighbortearsbookwatching tvcrying …character name in titlekiss (See All)

Nowhere Boy (2009)
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Nowhere Boy (2009)

The story of John Lennon's childhood and teenage years from 1944 to 1960, his relationship with his aunt Mimi and his mother Julia -the two dominant women in the first part of his life-, his first meeting with Paul McCartney and George Harrison, their friendship, their love for music and the birth o …f The Beatles. (Read More)

Themes:
angerfriendshiplove
Locations:
schoolrestaurant
Characters:
reference to godbabygirlteacherfriendhusband wife relationshipmother son relationship
Story:
birthday partythe beatlesbirthtape recorderrecordingsadnessreadingmontagepianobirthdayrunningtearsbooktitle directed by femalecrying …dancingf ratedkiss (See All)

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St. Vincent (2014) is one of the best movies like I Am Sam (2001)
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St. Vincent (2014)

Vincent is an old Vietnam vet whose stubbornly hedonistic ways have left him without money or a future. Things change when his new next-door neighbor's son, Oliver, needs a babysitter and Vince is willing enough for a fee. From that self-serving act, an unexpected friendship forms as Vincent and Oli …ver find so much of each other's needs through each other. As Vincent mentors Oliver in street survival and other worldly ways, Oliver begins to see more in the old man than just his foibles. When life takes a turn for the worse for Vincent, both them find the best in each other than no one around them suspects. (Read More)

Themes:
adoptiondivorcefriendship
Locations:
courtroomschoolhospital
Characters:
single motherreference to godlawyerteacherprostitutefriendhusband wife relationshipmother son relationship
Story:
custody hearingchild custodyoverhead shotunhappinessanswering machinesadnessmontageclassroomneighborrunningtearsbookwatching tvcryingdancing …character name in title (See All)

Conviction (2010)
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Conviction (2010)

Betty Anne Waters (Swank) is a high school dropout who spent nearly two decades working as a single mother while putting herself through law school, tirelessly trying to beat the system and overturn her brother's (Rockwell) unjust murder conviction.

Themes:
obsessiondivorcefearfriendship
Locations:
courtroomschool
Characters:
single motherlawyerbabygirlchildrenfriendfather daughter relationshiphusband wife relationshipmother son relationshipfamily relationshipspolice
Story:
foster homeclimbing out a windowattorneycourtjudgeclassroomrunningtearsarrestwatching tvcryingdancingcharacter name in titledog

The Lovely Bones (2009)
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The Lovely Bones (2009)

A 14-year-old girl in suburban 1970's Pennsylvania is murdered by her neighbor. She tells the story from the place between Heaven and Earth, showing the lives of the people around her and how they have changed all while attempting to get someone to find her lost body.

Themes:
obsession
Locations:
schoolhospital
Characters:
little girlgirlfather daughter relationshiphusband wife relationshipmother son relationshipfamily relationshipspolice
Story:
climbing out a windowlostshoeshatereadingmontagesoccerneighborbirthdayrunningtearsbookpaintingwatching tvcrying …dancingf ratedkissdog (See All)

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Caché (2005)
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Caché (2005)

Set in France, Georges is a TV Literary Reviewer and lives in a small yet modern town house with his wife Ann, a publisher and his young son Pierrot. They begin to receive video tapes through the post of their house and family, along side obscure child-like drawings. They visit the police with hope  …of aid to find the stalker, but as there is no direct threat, they refuse to help. As the tapes become more personal, Georges takes it upon himself to figure out who is putting through his family through such horror. A true Michael Haneke Classic. (Read More)

Themes:
adoptionfearkidnappinglovefriendship
Locations:
swimming poolschoolhospital
Characters:
lawyerteacherfriendhusband wife relationshipmother son relationshipfamily relationshipspolice
Story:
coffee shopcustodywatching a videoanswering machinereadingcoffeepianoneighborrunningtearsbookwatching tvcryingdog

Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011) is one of the best movies like I Am Sam (2001)
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Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011)

Cal (Steve Carell) and Emily (Julianne Moore) have the perfect life together living the American dream... until Emily asks for a divorce. Now Cal, Mr Husband, has to navigate the single scene with a little help from his professional bachelor friend Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling). Make that a lot of hel …p... (Read More)

Themes:
divorceangerfriendship
Locations:
los angeles california
Characters:
reference to godlawyergirlteacherfriendfather daughter relationshiphusband wife relationshipmother son relationshipfamily relationships
Story:
shoesrecordinganswering machineobscene finger gesturesadnesscoffeemontageclassroomwatching tvcryingdancingkiss

The Tree Of Life (2011)
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The Tree Of Life (2011)

The impressionistic story of a Texas family in the 1950s. The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father ('Brad Pitt' (qv)). Jack (played as an adult by … 'Sean Penn (I)' (qv)) finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith. (Read More)

Themes:
educationfear
Locations:
courtroomswimming poolschoolrestaurant
Characters:
reference to godbabychildrenhusband wife relationshipmother son relationshipfamily relationshipspolice
Story:
overhead shotswinglostsufferingbirthrecordinghatecourtreadingpainhalloweenclassroompianorunningtears …bookpaintingarrestcryingdancingdogkiss (See All)

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Parenthood (1989)
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Parenthood (1989)

The story of the Buckman family and friends, attempting to bring up their children. They suffer/enjoy all the events that occur: estranged relatives, the "black sheep" of the family, the eccentrics, the skeletons in the closet, and the rebellious teenagers.

Locations:
school
Characters:
little girlsingle motherchildrenfather daughter relationshiphusband wife relationshipmother son relationshipfamily relationships
Story:
birthday partywatching a videoparenthoodbirthballoonhuggingsingle parentsadnessbirthdaycryingkiss

Dark Water (2002)
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Dark Water (2002)

After winning a custody battle for her daughter, Yoshimi tries to make a new start. The apartment she moves into seems perfect at first. Soon though, strange things begin happening. Huge water stains appear on the ceiling and drip constantly, more liquid oozing into the rooms every day. She calls th …e landlord in but he refuses to do anything about it. A child's red bag shows up in odd places and soon the child herself starts appearing. Yoshimi then discovers the origin of the ghost... (Read More)

Themes:
divorcefear
Locations:
school
Characters:
little girllawyerteacherchildrenfather daughter relationshiphusband wife relationship
Story:
custody battlechild custodycustodyslow motionanswering machineclassroomtearscrying

Biutiful (2010) is one of the best movies like I Am Sam (2001)
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Biutiful (2010)

Uxbal, single father of two children, finds his life in chaos as he is forced to deal with his life in order to escape the heat of crime in underground Barcelona, to break with the love for the divorced, manic depressive, abusive mother of his children and to regain spiritual insight in his life as  …he is diagnosed with terminal cancer. (Read More)

Themes:
fearlove
Locations:
schoolrestauranthospital
Characters:
little girlsingle fatherbabygirlprostitutechildrenfather daughter relationshiphusband wife relationshipmother son relationshipfamily relationshipspolice
Story:
barred windowseven year oldsufferinghuggingsingle parentpainmontagebirthdayrunningtearsarrestwatching tvcryingdancingkiss

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Zodiac (2007)
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Zodiac (2007)

A serial killer in the San Francisco Bay Area taunts police with his letters and cryptic messages. We follow the investigators and reporters in this lightly fictionalized account of the true 1970's case as they search for the murderer, becoming obsessed with the case. Based on Robert Graysmith's boo …k, the movie's focus is the lives and careers of the detectives and newspaper people. (Read More)

Themes:
obsessiondivorce
Locations:
schoolrestaurant
Characters:
lawyerbabygirlchildrenfather daughter relationshiphusband wife relationshipmother son relationshipfamily relationshipspolice
Story:
attorneytape recorderobscene finger gestureparkpaincoffeejudgemontagecaliforniahalloweenbirthdayrunningbookpaintingarrest …watching tv (See All)

The Woodsman (2004)
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The Woodsman (2004)

After twelve years in prison, Walter arrives in an unnamed city, moves into a small apartment across the street from an elementary school, gets a job at a lumberyard, and mostly keeps to himself. A quiet, guarded man, Walter finds unexpected solace from Vickie, a tough-talking woman who promises not … to judge him for his history. But Walter cannot escape his past. A convicted sex offender, Walter is warily eyed by his brother-in-law, shunned by his sister, lives in fear of being discovered at work, and is hounded by a suspicious local police officer, Detective Lucas. After befriending a young girl in a neighborhood park, Walter must also grapple with the terrible prospect of his own reawakened demons. (Read More)

Themes:
angerfearfriendship
Locations:
school
Characters:
little girlgirlchildrenfriendfather daughter relationshipfamily relationshipspolice
Story:
birthday partysufferingfreeze framesadnessparkjudgebirthdaytearsarrestwatching tvtitle directed by femalecryingf ratedkiss

Persepolis (2007)
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Persepolis (2007)

In 1970s Iran, Marjane 'Marji' Statrapi watches events through her young eyes and her idealistic family of a long dream being fulfilled of the hated Shah's defeat in the Iranian Revolution of 1979. However as Marji grows up, she witnesses first hand how the new Iran, now ruled by Islamic fundamental …ists, has become a repressive tyranny on its own. With Marji dangerously refusing to remain silent at this injustice, her parents send her abroad to Vienna to study for a better life. However, this change proves an equally difficult trial with the young woman finding herself in a different culture loaded with abrasive characters and profound disappointments that deeply trouble her. Even when she returns home, Marji finds that both she and homeland have changed too much and the young woman and her loving family must decide where she truly belongs. (Read More)

Themes:
divorceangerfearlovefriendship
Locations:
schoolrestauranthospital
Characters:
reference to godgirlteacherprostitutechildrenfriendfather daughter relationshipmother son relationshipfamily relationshipspolice
Story:
bedtime storysufferingpsychologisthuggingobscene finger gesturereadingpainclassroomneighborrunningtearsbookarrestwatching tvtitle directed by female …cryingdancingf rateddogkiss (See All)

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Fish Tank (2009) is one of the best movies like I Am Sam (2001)
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Fish Tank (2009)

Mia, an aggressive fifteen-year-old girl, lives on an Essex estate with her tarty mother, Joanne, and precocious little sister Tyler. She has been thrown out of school and is awaiting admission to a referrals unit and spends her days aimlessly. She begins an uneasy friendship with Joanne's slick boy …friend, Connor, who encourages her one interest, dancing. (Read More)

Themes:
friendship
Locations:
school
Characters:
little girlsingle mothergirlchildrenfamily relationships
Story:
watching a videosocial workerswingrecordingballoonhuggingsingle parentrunningtearsarrestwatching tvtitle directed by femalecryingdancingf rated …kissdog (See All)

The Lake House (2006)
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The Lake House (2006)

When two people "connect" the bond between them can be so pure and simple as to stir hearts in heaven. When they connect in all the right places at all the wrong times, heaven weeps for broken hearts. To heal these broken hearts, heaven breaks time.

Locations:
restauranthospital
Characters:
little girllawyergirlfather daughter relationshipmother son relationshipfamily relationships
Story:
birthday partycartoon on tvattorneycoffeebirthdaytearsbookpaintingwatching tvcryingdancingkissdog

Juno (2007)
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Juno (2007)

A tale told over four seasons, starting in autumn when Juno, a 16-year-old high-school junior in Minnesota, discovers she's pregnant after one event in a chair with her best friend, Bleeker. In the waiting room of an abortion clinic, the quirky and whip-sharp Juno decides to give birth and to place  …the child with an adoptive couple. She finds one in the PennySaver personals, contacts them, tells her dad and step-mother, and carries on with school. The chosen parents, upscale yuppies (one of whom is cool and laid back, the other meticulous and uptight), meet Juno, sign papers, and the year unfolds. Will Juno's plan work, can she improvise, and what about Bleeker? (Read More)

Themes:
adoptiondivorcefriendship
Locations:
schoolhospital
Characters:
single motherlawyerbabyteacherfriendfather daughter relationshiphusband wife relationshipmother son relationship
Story:
watching a videoattorneybirthobscene finger gesturemontageclassroomrunningtearscryingdancingcharacter name in titlef rateddogkiss

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No Reservations (2007)
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No Reservations (2007)

A master chef, Kate, lives her life like she runs the kitchen at upscale 22 Bleecker Restaurant in Manhattan--with a no-nonsense intensity that both captivates and intimidates everyone around her. With breathtaking precision, she powers through each hectic shift, coordinating hundreds of meals, prep …aring delicate sauces, seasoning and simmering each dish to absolute perfection. (Read More)

Locations:
schoolrestauranthospital
Characters:
single mothergirlfamily relationships
Story:
pillow fightcartoon on tvbirthanswering machinerunawayparkmontagesoccerneighbortearswatching tvcryingdancingkiss

Changeling (2008) is one of the best movies like I Am Sam (2001)
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Changeling (2008)

Los Angeles, 1928. A single mother returns from work to find her nine-year-old son gone. She calls the LAPD to initiate a search. Five months later, a boy is found in Illinois who fits the description; he says he's her son. To fanfare and photos, the LAPD reunite mother and son, but she insists he's … not her boy. The cops dismiss her as either a liar or hysterical. When she joins a minister in his public criticism of the police, they in turn use government power to silence and intimidate her. Meanwhile, a cop goes to a dilapidated ranch to find a Canadian lad who's without legal status; the youth tells a grisly tale. There's redress for murder; is there redress for abuse of power? (Read More)

Themes:
fearkidnapping
Locations:
los angeles californiacourtroomschoolrestaurant
Characters:
single motherlawyergirlteacherprostitutehusband wife relationshipmother son relationshippolice
Story:
scootersufferingsingle parentcourtreadingpainjudgecaliforniaclassroomrunningtearscryingf rated

The Sessions (2012)
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The Sessions (2012)

At the age of 38, Mark O'Brien, a man who uses an iron lung, decides he no longer wishes to be a virgin. With the help of his therapist and his priest, he contacts Cheryl Cohen-Greene, a professional sex surrogate and a typical soccer mom with a house, a mortgage and a husband. Inspired by a true st …ory, The Sessions, follows the fascinating relationship which evolves between Cheryl and Mark as she takes him on his journey to manhood. (Read More)

Themes:
disabilityfearfriendship
Locations:
restauranthospital
Characters:
self deprecationreference to godgirlprostitutefriendfather daughter relationshiphusband wife relationshipmother son relationshipfamily relationships
Story:
anxietytape recorderanswering machinehuggingsadnessreadingpaincoffeesoccerrunningtearsbookkiss

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Three Colors: Blue (1993)
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Three Colors: Blue (1993)

The first part of Kieslowski's trilogy on France's national motto: Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. 'Blue' is the story of Julie who loses her husband, an acclaimed composer and her young daughter in a car accident. The film's theme of liberty is manifested in Julie's attempt to start life anew, f …ree of personal commitments, belongings, grief or love. She intends to numb herself by withdrawing from the world and living completely independently, anonymously and in solitude in the Parisian metropolis. Despite her intentions, people from her former and present life intrude with their own needs. However, the reality created by the people who need and care about her, a surprising discovery and the music around which the film revolves heal Julie and draws her back to the land of the living. (Read More)

Themes:
angerfearlove
Locations:
tunnelcourtroomswimming poolrestauranthospital
Characters:
little girllawyerprostitutefriendfather daughter relationshiphusband wife relationship
Story:
courtpaincoffeejudgepianoneighborrunningtearswatching tvcryingf ratedkissdog

Precious (2009)
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Precious (2009)

In Harlem, 1987. Sixteen year old Claireece Jones - who goes by her middle name Precious - is an illiterate, overweight black girl. She is pregnant with her second child, both children fathered by her biological father, who has continually raped her since she was a child, but who she doesn't see oth …erwise. Her infant daughter, Mongo - such named since she has Down Syndrome - lives with Precious' grandmother. Precious lives with her mother Mary, who abuses Precious both physically and emotionally. Mary does nothing but smoke, watch television and collect welfare through fraud (as she doesn't ever look for a job) and believes that education does nothing for Precious, who she would rather also collect welfare if only to bring money into the household. To escape her life, Precious often daydreams of herself in glamorous situations. Because of her current pregnancy, Precious' principal transfers her into an alternative school. In dealing with the school's sympathetic teacher Miss Blu Rain, Precious begins to believe that she can have a future by learning how to read and write. Despite some devastating news from her mother following the birth of her child, Precious also begins to believe she can escape the grips of her abusive mother, who, up to this point, was Precious' only real support. (Read More)

Themes:
adoptioneducationfearlove
Locations:
swimming poolschoolrestauranthospital
Characters:
single motherbabygirlteacherchildrenfather daughter relationshipmother son relationship
Story:
learningsocial workerbirthballoonreadingmontagewatching tvcryingdancingcharacter name in titlef rateddog

Big Eyes (2014) is one of the best movies like I Am Sam (2001)
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Big Eyes (2014)

In San Francisco in the 1950s, Margaret was a woman trying to make it on her own after leaving her husband with only her daughter and her paintings. She meets gregarious ladies' man and fellow painter Walter Keane in a park while she was struggling to make an impact with her drawings of children wit …h big eyes. The two quickly become a pair with outgoing Walter selling their paintings and quiet Margaret holed up at home painting even more children with big eyes. But Walter's actually selling her paintings as his own. A clash of financial success and critical failure soon sends Margaret reeling in her life of lies. With Walter still living the high life, Margaret's going to have to try making it on her own again and re-claiming her name and her paintings. (Read More)

Themes:
divorcefearfriendship
Locations:
courtroomswimming poolrestaurant
Characters:
single motherreference to godlawyergirlchildrenfriendfather daughter relationshiphusband wife relationshipfamily relationships
Story:
child custodylocked doorobscene finger gesturecourtparkjudgemontagecaliforniarunningtearsbookpaintingwatching tvcryingdog …kiss (See All)

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The Squid And The Whale (2005)
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The Squid And The Whale (2005)

In 1986, In Brooklyn, New York, the dysfunctional family of pseudo intellectuals composed by the university professor Bernard and the prominent writer Joan split. Bernard is a selfish, cheap and jealous decadent writer that rationalizes every attitude in his family and life and does not accept "phil …istines" - people that do not read books or watch movies, while the unfaithful Joan is growing as a writer and has no problems with "philistines". Their sons, the teenager Walt and the boy Frank, feel the separation and take side: Walt stays with Bernard, and Frank with Joan, and both are affected with abnormal behaviors. Frank drinks booze and smears with sperm the books in the library and a locker in the dress room of his school. The messed-up and insecure Walt uses Roger Water's song "Hey You" in a festival as if it was of his own, and breaks up with his girlfriend Sophie. Meanwhile Joan has an affair with Frank's tennis teacher Ivan and Bernard with his student Lili. (Read More)

Themes:
obsessiondivorcefriendshiplove
Locations:
schoolrestauranthospital
Characters:
lawyergirlteacherfriendhusband wife relationshipmother son relationshipfamily relationshipspolice
Story:
custody battlecustodypsychologistrecordingobscene finger gesturereadingparkclassroomtearsbookwatching tvcryingkiss

A Little Princess (1995)
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A Little Princess (1995)

When her father enlists to fight for the British in WWI, young Sara Crewe goes to New York to attend the same boarding school her late mother attended. She soon clashes with the severe headmistress, Miss Minchin, who attempts to stifle Sara's creativity and sense of self-worth. Sara's belief that "e …very girl's a princess" is tested to the limit, however, when word comes that her father was killed in action and his estate has been seized by the British government. (Read More)

Themes:
fearfriendship
Locations:
school
Characters:
little girlsingle fathergirlteacherfather daughter relationship
Story:
birthday partyclimbing out a windowslow motionballoonsingle parenthatepainclassroombirthdaycryingdancing

My Left Foot (1989)
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My Left Foot (1989)

Christy Brown is a spastic quadriplegic born to a large, poor Irish family. His mother, Mrs Brown, recognizes the intelligence and humanity in the lad everyone else regards as a vegetable. Eventually, Christy matures into a cantankerous writer who uses his only functional limb, his left foot, to wri …te with. (Read More)

Themes:
disabilityangerfearlove
Locations:
restauranthospital
Characters:
babygirlchildrenfather daughter relationshiphusband wife relationshipmother son relationshipfamily relationships
Story:
birthday partyhandicaprecordingreadingsoccerbirthdaybookpaintingcharacter name in title

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Nothing But The Truth (2008) is one of the best movies like I Am Sam (2001)
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Nothing But The Truth (2008)

Thinking Pulitzer Prize and hoping to bring down a President, D.C. political columnist Rachel Armstrong writes that the President ignored the findings of a covert CIA operative when ordering air strikes against Venezuela. Rachel names the agent, Erica Van Doren, a woman whose young daughter is in Ra …chel's son's class at school. The government moves quickly to force Rachel to name her source. She's jailed for contempt when she refuses. She won't change her mind, and the days add up. Chaos descends on Van Doren's life as well. First Amendment versus national security, marriage and motherhood versus separation. What's the value of a principle? (Read More)

Locations:
courtroomschoolrestaurant
Characters:
little girllawyerhusband wife relationshipmother son relationshipfamily relationships
Story:
soccer matchbirthday partyattorneycheating husbandcourtu.s. presidentjudgeclassroomarrest

I Killed My Mother (2009)
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I Killed My Mother (2009)

Teenager Hubert haughtily regards his mother with contempt, and only sees her tacky sweaters and kitsch decorations. In addition to these irritating surface details, there is also his parent's cherished mechanisms of manipulation and guilt. Confused by this love/hate relationship that obsesses him m …ore and more each day, Hubert drifts through the mysteries of adolescence - artistic discoveries, illicit experiences, the opening-up to friendship, and ostracism. The turbulent relationship between mother and son unfolds with a compelling combination of savage fury and melting affection. The stunning, semi-autobiographical directing debut of 20-year-old actor Xavier Dolan. (Read More)

Themes:
divorceangerfriendshiplove
Locations:
schoolrestaurant
Characters:
single motherreference to godteacherfriendmother son relationship
Story:
single parentrunawayhateobscene finger gesturemontageclassroompaintingwatching tvdancing

Woman In Gold (2015)
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Woman In Gold (2015)

Maria Altman sought to regain a world famous painting of her aunt plundered by the Nazis during World War II. She did so not just to regain what was rightfully hers, but also to obtain some measure of justice for the death, destruction, and massive art theft perpetrated by the Nazis.

Locations:
los angeles californiacourtroom
Characters:
lawyerbabygirlfriendfather daughter relationshiphusband wife relationshipmother son relationshipfamily relationships
Story:
locked doorattorneyrecordingparkjudgemontagecaliforniarunningtearsbookpaintingarrestcryingdancing

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Sleeping With Other People (2015)
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Sleeping With Other People (2015)

Themes:
obsessionangerfearfriendship
Locations:
swimming poolrestauranthospital
Characters:
little girlreference to godlawyerteacherprostitutefriendfather daughter relationshiphusband wife relationshipmother son relationship
Story:
birthday partyreference to john lennonballoonanswering machinefreeze framesoccerwatching tvdancingf rateddogkiss

Definitely, Maybe (2008) is one of the best movies like I Am Sam (2001)
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Definitely, Maybe (2008)

Romantic comedy: Will Hayes, a 30-something Manhattan dad is in the midst of a divorce when his 10 year old daughter, Maya, starts to question him about his life before marriage. Maya wants to know absolutely everything about how her parents met and fell in love. Will's story begins in 1992, as a yo …ung, starry-eyed aspiring politician who moves to New York from Wisconsin in order to work on the Clinton campaign. For Maya, Will relives his past as a idealistic young man learning the ins and outs of big city politics, and recounts the history of his romantic relationships with three very different women. On the campaign, Will's best buddy is Russell McCormack. They not only have similar political aspirations, they share the same type of girl problems, too. Will hopelessly attempts a "PG" version of his story for his daughter ad changes the names so Maya has to guess who he finally married. Is her mother Will's college sweetheart, the dependable girl next-door Emily? Is she his longtime best friend and confidante, the apolitical April? Or is she the free-spirited but ambitious journalist? As Maya puts together the pieces of her dad's romantic puzzle, she begins to understand that love is not so simple or easy. And as Will tells her his tale, Maya helps him to understand that it's definitely never too late to go back...and maybe even possible to find a happy ending. (Read More)

Themes:
divorcelovefriendship
Locations:
schoolrestauranthospital
Characters:
little girlsingle fathergirlfriendfather daughter relationshiphusband wife relationship
Story:
birthday partybedtime storylearninganswering machineu.s. presidentreadingbirthdaytearsbookwatching tvcryingdancingkissdog

Billy Elliot (2000)
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Billy Elliot (2000)

County Durham, during the endless, violent 1984 strike against the Thatcher closure of British coal mines. Widower Jackie Elliot and his firstborn, fellow miner Tony, take a dim view of 11 year-old second son Billy's poor record in boxing class, which worsens when they discover he sneakily transferr …ed to the neighboring, otherwise girls-only-attended ballet class. Only one schoolmate, closet-gay Michael Caffrey, encourages Billy's desire, aroused by the teacher, who judged him talented enough for private lesson, to train and try out for the world-renowned Royal Ballet audition. Only the prospect of a fancy career unimagined in the pauper quarter may twist pa and big brother's opposition to indispensable support. (Read More)

Themes:
fearfriendship
Locations:
school
Characters:
teacherfriendfather daughter relationshiphusband wife relationshipmother son relationshipfamily relationshipspolice
Story:
pillow fightcompassionrecordingslow motionhuggingsadnessjudgemontageclassroompianorunningtearsbookcryingdancing …character name in titlekiss (See All)

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Beginners (2010)
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Beginners (2010)

It's 2003. Thirty-eight-year-old graphic artist Oliver Fields has just lost his father Hal Fields to cancer, after Oliver's mother Georgia Fields passed away five years earlier. Oliver is naturally a sullen man due to his growing up relationships with his parents (his mother who had a unique view on … life) and watching his parents' cordial but somewhat distant relationship with each other, but is more so now because of his personal family losses. Oliver embarks on a relationship with Anna, a French actress, hoping that his re-energized relationship with Hal following Georgia's death, and Hal's new outlook on life during that time, will show Oliver how to act in a loving relationship. After Georgia's death, Hal came out of the closet and began to live with a joie de vivre that did not exist before, which included an open relationship with a much younger man named Andy. Oliver's relationship with Anna has other obstacles, including Anna's own vagabond lifestyle and Oliver needing to take care of who was originally Hal's very needy Jack Russell terrier, Arthur. (Read More)

Themes:
friendship
Locations:
los angeles californiahospital
Characters:
friendfather daughter relationshiphusband wife relationshipmother son relationshipfamily relationships
Story:
halloween partyhalloween costumeunhappinesslostrecordinghuggingsadnessreadingparkmontagecaliforniahalloweenrunningtearsbook …cryingdancingkissdog (See All)

Boogie Nights (1997)
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Boogie Nights (1997)

Adult film director Jack Horner is always on the lookout for new talent and it's only by chance that he meets Eddie Adams who is working as a busboy in a restaurant. Eddie is young, good looking and plenty of libido to spare. Using the screen name Dirk Diggler, he quickly rises to the top of his ind …ustry winning awards year after year. Drugs and ego however come between Dirk and those around him and he soon finds that fame is fleeting. (Read More)

Themes:
fearlove
Locations:
los angeles californiaswimming poolrestauranthospital
Characters:
lawyerbabymother son relationship
Story:
custody hearingchild custodyshoe storeshoesbirthrunawayjudgemontagecaliforniaclassroomtearspaintingcryingdancingkiss

Reign Over Me (2007) is one of the best movies like I Am Sam (2001)
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Reign Over Me (2007)

Alan Johnson has everything he needs to get through life: a good job, a beautiful and loving wife, and their wonderful children. Yet he feels isolated because he finds having a hard-working job and managing a family too much to handle and has no one to talk to about it. Charlie Fineman, on the other … hand, doesn't have a job or a family. He used to have both until a terrible loss, and the grief caused him to quit his job and isolate himself from everyone around him. As it turns out, Alan and Charlie were roommates in college, and a chance encounter one night rekindles the friendship they shared. But when Charlie's problems become too much to deal with, Alan is determined to help Charlie come out of his emotional abyss. (Read More)

Themes:
angerfriendshiplove
Locations:
courtroomrestauranthospital
Characters:
lawyerchildrenfriendfather daughter relationshiphusband wife relationshipmother son relationshipfamily relationships
Story:
shoesattorneypsychologistsadnesscoffeejudgemontagetearspaintingarrestwatching tvcrying

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Love & Mercy (2014)
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Love & Mercy (2014)

Brian Wilson is the creative soul of the Beach Boys, but he paid a heavy price for his talent. That especially shows during his peak artistic years in the 1960s, as his inner demons and obsessions trying to please his abusive father drive him to a mental breakdown that would plague him for years. In … the 1980s, with Brian barely functional under the domination of the unscrupulous Dr. Landy, Brian meets and falls in love with Melinda Ledbetter. As their relationship grows, she observes Brian's crippling subservience to the abusive psychotherapist with growing alarm. Ultimately, she must take action with a love willing to stand up to oppression she cannot ignore. (Read More)

Themes:
angerfearlovefriendship
Locations:
los angeles californiaswimming poolrestaurant
Characters:
reference to godfriendfather daughter relationshiphusband wife relationshipmother son relationshipfamily relationships
Story:
abusive childhoodreference to paul mccartneyreference to john lennonunhappinessanxietycompassionpsychologistsadnessmontagecaliforniapianotearscryingdogkiss

All Good Things (2010)
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All Good Things (2010)

A love story and murder mystery based on the most notorious unsolved murder case in New York history. The original screenplay uses newly discovered facts, court records and speculation as the foundation for a story of family, obsession, love and loss.

Themes:
obsessionfearlovefriendship
Locations:
los angeles californiacourtroomswimming poolrestaurant
Characters:
lawyergirlfriendfather daughter relationshiphusband wife relationshipmother son relationshipfamily relationshipspolice
Story:
birthday partyrecordinganswering machinecourtjudgeneighborrunningtearscryingdancingdogkiss

In A Better World (2010)
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In A Better World (2010)

Anton is a doctor who commutes between his home in an idyllic town in Denmark, and his work at an African refugee camp. In these two very different worlds, he and his family are faced with conflicts that lead them to difficult choices between revenge and forgiveness. Anton and his wife Marianne, who … have two young sons, are separated and struggling with the possibility of divorce. Their older, ten-year-old son Elias is being bullied at school, until he is defended by Christian, a new boy who has just moved from London with his father, Claus. Christian's mother recently lost her battle with cancer, and Christian is greatly troubled by her death. Elias and Christian quickly form a strong bond, but when Christian involves Elias in a dangerous act of revenge with potentially tragic consequences, their friendship is tested and lives are put in danger. Ultimately, it is their parents who are left to help them come to terms with the complexity of human emotions, pain and empathy. (Read More)

Themes:
divorceangerfearfriendship
Locations:
schoolhospital
Characters:
single fatherbabyteacherfriendhusband wife relationshipmother son relationshipfamily relationshipspolice
Story:
swinglostsufferinghatepainclassroomrunningtearstitle directed by femalecryingf ratedkiss

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Adore (2013) is one of the best movies like I Am Sam (2001)
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Adore (2013)

Lil ('Naomi Watts' (qv)) and Roz ('Robin Wright (V)' (qv)) are two lifelong friends, having grown up together as neighbors in an idyllic beach town. As adults, their sons have developed a friendship as strong as that which binds their mothers. One summer, all four are confronted by simmering emotion …s that have been mounting between them, and each find unexpected happiness in relationships that cross the bounds of convention. (Read More)

Themes:
divorcefearfriendship
Locations:
hospital
Characters:
reference to godbabyfriendhusband wife relationshipmother son relationshipfamily relationships
Story:
birthday partybedtime storyoverhead shotsadnessneighborbirthdayrunningtearsbooktitle directed by femalecryingdancingf ratedkiss

Boy A (2007)
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Boy A (2007)

A young man is released from prison after many years and given a new identity in a new town. Aided by a supervisor who becomes like a father to him he finds a job and friends and hesitantly starts a relationship with a compassionate girl. But the secret of the heinous crime he committed as a boy wei …ghs down on him, and he learns that it is not so easy to escape your past. (Read More)

Themes:
fearlovefriendship
Locations:
courtroomschoolrestaurant
Characters:
little girllawyergirlteacherfriendmother son relationshippolice
Story:
birthday partyshoeshugginghatecourtclassroombirthdaytearswatching tvcryingdancingkiss

Blow (2001)
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Blow (2001)

A boy named George Jung grows up in a struggling family in the 1950's. His mother nags at her husband as he is trying to make a living for the family. It is finally revealed that George's father cannot make a living and the family goes bankrupt. George does not want the same thing to happen to him,  …and his friend Tuna, in the 1960's, suggests that he deal marijuana. He is a big hit in California in the 1960's, yet he goes to jail, where he finds out about the wonders of cocaine. As a result, when released, he gets rich by bringing cocaine to America. However, he soon pays the price. (Read More)

Themes:
divorcefriendshiplove
Locations:
los angeles californiacourtroomswimming pool
Characters:
friendfather daughter relationshiphusband wife relationshipmother son relationshipfamily relationshipspolice
Story:
child custodytape recorderslow motionobscene finger gesturecourtjudgemontagecaliforniabirthdayarrestdancing

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The Science Of Sleep (2006)
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The Science Of Sleep (2006)

Following the death of his father in Mexico, Stephane Miroux, a shy insecure young man, agrees to come to Paris to draw closer to his widowed mother Christine. He lands a boring job at a calendar-making firm and falls in love with his charming neighbor Stephanie. But conquering her is no bed of rose …s for the young man and the only solution he finds to put up with the difficulties he is going through is escape into a dream world... (Read More)

Themes:
lovefriendship
Characters:
single fatherfriendmother son relationshipfamily relationshipspolice
Story:
coffee shophalloween costumepaper airplaneclimbing out a windowshoestape recorderslow motionanswering machineparkpianoneighborrunningbookpaintingwatching tv …dancingkiss (See All)

Milk (2008) is one of the best movies like I Am Sam (2001)
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Milk (2008)

Using flashbacks from a statement recorded late in life and archival footage for atmosphere, this film traces Harvey Milk's career from his 40th birthday to his death. He leaves the closet and New York, opens a camera shop that becomes the salon for San Francisco's growing gay community, and organiz …es gays' purchasing power to build political alliances. He runs for office with lover Scott Smith as his campaign manager. Victory finally comes on the same day Dan White wins in the city's conservative district. The rest of the film sketches Milk's relationship with White and the 1978 fight against a statewide initiative to bar gays and their supporters from public school jobs. (Read More)

Themes:
angerfearfriendship
Locations:
swimming poolschoolrestaurant
Characters:
reference to godlawyerbabyteacherfriendpolice
Story:
birthday partytape recorderrecordingslow motionballooncaliforniabirthdayrunningtearswatching tvcryingdancingcharacter name in titlekissdog

The Great Beauty (2013)
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The Great Beauty (2013)

Journalist Jep Gambardella has charmed and seduced his way through the lavish nightlife of Rome for decades. Since the legendary success of his one and only novel, he has been a permanent fixture in the city's literary and social circles, but when his sixty-fifth birthday coincides with a shock from … the past, Jep finds himself unexpectedly taking stock of his life, turning his cutting wit on himself and his contemporaries, and looking past the extravagant nightclubs, parties, and cafes to find Rome in all its glory: a timeless landscape of absurd, exquisite beauty. (Read More)

Themes:
obsessiondivorcefriendshiplove
Locations:
swimming pool
Characters:
little girlgirlprostitutefriendfather daughter relationshiphusband wife relationshipmother son relationship
Story:
birthday partyoverhead shotsadnessparkmontagebirthdaybookpaintingarrestwatching tvcryingdancingdogkiss

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