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I Am (2010 American documentary film)

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Director  Tom Shadyac
Producer  Dagan Handy
Language  English
7.6/10 IMDb

Genre  Documentary
Initial DVD release  January 3, 2012 (USA)
Country  United States
I Am (2010 American documentary film) movie poster
Release date  October 2010 (2010-10)
Cast  Marc Ian Barasch (Himself), Coleman Barks (Himself), Jim Carrey (Himself), Noam Chomsky (Himself), John Francis (Himself), Lynne McTaggart (Herself)
Similar movies  Related Tom Shadyac movies

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Filmmaker Tom Shadyac interviews philosophers, scientists and others to find out ways individually and communally that people can improve the way they live.


I Am (2010 American documentary film) movie scenes

I Am is a 2010 American documentary film written, directed, and narrated by Tom Shadyac. The documentary explores Shadyacs personal journey after a 2007 bicycle accident, "the nature of humanity" and "worlds ever-growing addiction to materialism." The film, shot with Shadyac and a team of four, contrasts sharply with Shadyacs previous comedic work.

I AM is an utterly engaging and entertaining non-fiction film that poses two practical and provocative questions: what’s wrong with our world, and what can we do to make it better? The filmmaker behind the inquiry is Tom Shadyac, one of Hollywood’s leading comedy practitioners and the creative force behind such blockbusters as “Ace Ventura,” “Liar Liar,” “The Nutty Professor,” and “Bruce Almighty.” However, in I AM, Shadyac steps in front of the camera to recount what happened to him after a cycling accident left him incapacitated, possibly for good. Though he ultimately recovered, he emerged with a new sense of purpose, determined to share his own awakening to his prior life of excess and greed, and to investigate how he as an individual, and we as a race, could improve the way we live and walk in the world.


Shadyac suffered post-concussion syndrome after a 2007 bicycle accident in Virginia, experiencing months of acute headaches and hyper-sensitivity to light and noise. The injury followed the cumulative effects of previous mild head injuries Shadyac had suffered surfing, mountain biking and playing basketball.

A 2011 New York Times article stated that "the symptoms of a concussion [didnt] go away. Something as simple as a trip to the grocery store was painful for Shadyac, whose brain was unable to filter various stimuli. Shadyac subsequently gave away his excess fortune, opening a homeless shelter in Charlottesville, Virginia and making a key donation to Telluride, Colorados effort to set aside a natural area at the towns entrance. He reoriented and simplified his life, sold his 17,000-square-foot (1,600 m2) Los Angeles mansion and moved into a trailer park – albeit the exclusive Paradise Cove park in Malibu.

As medical treatments failed to help, he isolated himself completely, sleeping in his closet and walling the windows of his mobile home with black-out curtains. Later, as his symptoms finally began to subside, the director wanted to share his inner quest in the way he knew best: through film." Shadyac likened the experience to Dantes Seventh Circle of Hell.

Film context

In the film, Shadyac conducts interviews with scientists, religious leaders, environmentalists and philosophers including Desmond Tutu, Noam Chomsky, Lynne McTaggart, Elisabet Sahtouris, David Suzuki, Howard Zinn, and Thom Hartmann. The film asks two central questions: What’s Wrong With the World? and What Can We Do About it?. It is about "human connectedness, happiness, and the human spirit", and explores themes including Darwinism, Western mores, loneliness, the economy, and the drive to war. The documentary includes animated scenes explaining scientific concepts, as well as clips from the films Wall Street and Its a Wonderful Life.


The Los Angeles Times said the film "was collection of sound bites that validate the filmmakers point of view. What lifts the film above its dubious boilerplate assemblage of talking heads and archival images is Shadyac himself. With his gentle, self-mocking humor, he comes across as an exceptionally mellow, earnest and likable guy." Roger Ebert gave the film a mixed review, stating that the "film is often absurd and never less than giddy with uplift, but thats not to say its bad. I watched with an incredulous delight, and at the end, I liked Tom Shadyac quite a lot...he offers us this hopeful if somewhat undigested cut of his findings, in a film as watchable as a really good TV commercial, and just as deep. " Proceeds from the documentary go to the Foundation for I Am, which supports various charities.


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