In the film, Sam Dawson (Sean Penn) is a mentally challenged single father raising his daughter Lucy (Dakota Fanning). Sam is a sweet, good-natured man who earns a living by sweeping up at a local coffee store. His mental capacity is that of a seven-year-old, and as his daughter turns seven, she begins to intellectually outgrow her father. Soon, their lives come under the scrutiny of a social worker, who, "for the good of the child," wants Lucy placed into foster care.
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