The point Tom Shadyac tries to make in his documentary I AM is something we have all thought or heard before. Nothing new is said in here, but it was about time someone said it out loud. This film is about the personal journey of Shadyac as he travels around the world interviewing spiritual leaders, scientists, environmentalists, historians and a whole array of different people trying to find the answers to two loaded questions:
What is wrong with the world?
What can we do to change it?
Shadyac is best known for being the guy who directed in Jim Carrey in everything between Ace Ventura, and Bruce Almighty. He also directed Patch Adams, which was as serious as his movies ever got. A few years ago, after having wrapped up with Evan Almighty, Shadyac suffered a major concussion; this is where the journey begins. Shadyac suffered from depression as a direct effect from his concussion. After months of therapy, psychiatry and what not Shadyac decided to take on in this journey.
The film consists mostly of interviews with acknowledged experts in several fields: from archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, to historians like Howard Zinn and several quantum physicists. They speak about the nature of humanity and human culture as well as recent discoveries it the world of physics that might explain the origin of such nature.
Shadyac comes to the conclusion that there is an energy a community is able to create that cannot be created by any artificial means. Loving each other is an important part of life. He also concludes that materialism is not the key to happiness; a lie we have all been swallowing for the past few decades. Upon finishing the documentary Shadyac sold his Pasadena estate, private yet, and other luxuries and donated the proceeds to several charities. He now lives in a trailer park in North Malibu and rides his bike to work everyday.
Life is about enjoying and sharing the simple pleasures of it.
The questions he asks are not easy to answer; yet everyone seems to believe they have the right answer to them. Shadyac presents his answers and tries (somewhat unsuccessfully) to abstain from being too preachy about them. Regardless the film is not about his conclusion, he even admits to still be working on it; the film is about his journey and him wanting to share it with everyone.
The film is not being distributed traditionally, instead Shadyac is touring universities and presenting several screenings.
It is an uplifting film that believes in positive change for humanity. Despite its accusations against consumerism, and modern culture you do not leave the theater enraged but thoughtful. Mostly because we are all asking the same questions, seeking for the same answers. Shadyac only wants us to start a dialogue about it. Maybe together we can find them.
Here’s to hoping.
The idea is for the movie to gain a following in this manner and then be released. I strongly recommend you go see it if a screening happens to be happening near you. You might miss it otherwise.