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My Left Foot

My Left Foot

4.7 7
Director: Jim Sheridan

Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Ray McAnally, Brenda Fricker


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An alternative to the general run of "triumph over the odds" biopics, My Left Foot is the true story of Irish cerebral palsy victim Christy Brown. Paralyzed from birth, Brown (played by Hugh O'Conor as child and Daniel Day-Lewis as an adult) is written off as retarded and helpless. But Christy's indomitable mother (Brenda Fricker) never gives up on the boy.


An alternative to the general run of "triumph over the odds" biopics, My Left Foot is the true story of Irish cerebral palsy victim Christy Brown. Paralyzed from birth, Brown (played by Hugh O'Conor as child and Daniel Day-Lewis as an adult) is written off as retarded and helpless. But Christy's indomitable mother (Brenda Fricker) never gives up on the boy. Using his left foot, the only part of his body not afflicted, Brown learns to write. He grows up to become a well-known author, painter, and fundraiser, and along the way falls in love with nurse Mary Carr (Ruth McCabe). There's no sugarcoating in My Left Foot: Brown, a heavy drinker, was by no means lovable. Day-Lewis and Fricker both won Academy Awards for their performances, and the film was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Also notable are the late Ray McAnally in his next-to-last film role as Christy's father, and venerable Cyril Cusack as Lord Castlewelland. Director Jim Sheridan co-scripted with Shane Connaughton from Christy Brown's autobiography.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Bruce Kluger
Throughout his film career, actor Daniel Day-Lewis has consistently -- and seemingly effortlessly -- tapped into the machismo and swagger of the many characters he's chosen to portray -- from the rugged settler of Last of the Mohicans to a former IRA soldier in The Boxer to the irrepressible rake of The Unbearable Lightness of Being. All of which makes his Oscar-winning performance in My Left Foot so worthy of recognition. Playing the real-life Christy Brown -- the renowned Irish author and painter who suffered from cerebral palsy -- Day-Lewis was called upon to recreate Brown's unsettling infirmities and unusual gifts, none of which were particularly pretty to look at. Grunting his words through a contorted mask of tics and winces, Day-Lewis learned to use, as Brown did, the only unafflicted part of his body -- a foot -- for his daily functions. Still, to many critics, the actor's greatest achievement was his ability to make the audience care about Brown without compromising the character's more unattractive qualities, namely a volatile temperament and drunken belligerence. While the plot of the film turns on Brown's many relationships -- notably with his unassailable mother (Brenda Fricker, who also won an Academy Award for her performance) and his nurse, with whom he falls in love -- My Left Foot is at its most effective when simply celebrating a man's startling triumph over insurmountable odds.
All Movie Guide - Mike Cummings
Film and TV productions about the severely ill frequently dwell only on a character's Jekyll, not his Hyde. The idea is to give viewers a feel-good character to root for or cry about, someone who overcomes impossible odds to live a triumphant life or who dies gently without the burning and raging advised by Dylan Thomas. This 1989 production presents the whole of its central character, Christy Brown, a victim of cerebral palsy who has one functioning appendage, his left foot. Not only does the film show viewers a courageous, persevering Christy who contorts himself into a pretzel just to write with his toes, but it also shows them an angry, wrathful Christy who resorts to screaming, kicking, and the foulest of four-letter words to vent his spleen. Daniel Day-Lewis won a Best Actor Academy Award for his moving portrayal of the adult Brown, but young Hugh O'Conor was also impressive in his portrayal of Brown as one of 13 children of a Dublin bricklayer. Unforgettable is a scene in which young Christy huddles in the shadows of his shoddy home, a wretched lump of flesh that his family thinks cannot function physically or mentally. And then, without warning, he shocks everyone by using a piece of chalk and the toes of his left foot to scrawl a word on the floor. Brenda Fricker won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar as Christy's mom, a woman of fierce resolve who helps him liberate his brilliant mind from its prison of darkness. As Christy's father, Ray McAnally ably portrays a weak man who musters enough courage to keep his son at home rather than institutionalize him. The real-life Christy Brown went on to become a famous author and painter -- and an alcoholic -- and this outstanding film gives you all of him, for better or worse.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Hbo Home Video

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Daniel Day-Lewis Christy Brown
Ray McAnally Mr. Brown
Brenda Fricker Mrs. Brown
Ruth McCabe Mary Carr
Fiona Shaw Dr. Eileen Cole
Hugh O'Conor Young Christy Brown
Cyril Cusack Lord Castlewelland
Alison Whelan Old Sheila
Declan Croghan Old Tom
Eileen Colgan Nan
Marie Conmee Sadie
Sarah Cronin Girl Friend
Jean Doyle Woman with Pram
Phelim Drew Brian
Martin Dunne Waiter
Milt Fleming Mourner
Julie Hale Rachel
Tom Hickey Priest
Patricia Higgins Viola
Simon Kelly Liam
Don King Double Bass
Eileen Kohlmann Violin
Patrick Laffan Barman
Conor Lambert Punch and Judy Puppeteer
Margaret Lyons Piano
Darren McHugh Young Benny
Ulick O'Connor Critic
Keith O'Conor Young Brian
Hilery O'Donovan Cello
Ger O'Leary Mourner
Derry Power Customer in Bar
Daniel Reardon Tony
Charlie Roberts Mourner
Owen Sharp Young Tom
Kirsten Sheridan Young Sharon
Britta Smith Nurse
Lucy Vigne Welsh Petra
Jacinta Whyte Jenny
Adrian Dunbar Peter
Eanna Mac Liam Old Benny

Technical Credits
Jim Sheridan Director,Screenwriter
Joan Bergin Costumes/Costume Designer
Elmer Bernstein Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Peter Brayham Stunts
Shane Connaughton Screenwriter
Jack Conroy Cinematographer
J. Patrick Duffner Editor
Paul Heller Producer
Ken Jennings Makeup
Gerry Johnson Special Effects
Gerry Johnston Special Effects
Arthur Lappin Producer
Shirley Lynch Set Decoration/Design
Steve Morrison Producer
Noel Pearson Producer
Austen Spriggs Production Designer


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My Left Foot 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
''My Left Foot'' is one of my absolute favorites. It's beautiful, up-lifting, and inspiring while managing to be honest at the same time. Daniel Day-Lewis is his usual incredible self, and Brenda Fricker shines as his mother. 5 stars!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I always pull out this movie on Mother's Day with a box of Kleenex. It is the most inspiring movie I have ever watched.
The_Beastlord_Slavedragon More than 1 year ago
I was dragged to the theatre and introduced to this arthaus film genre right after 'Sid and Nancy'. I had not been to a film in six years prior having given up on Hollywood Rambo's and Hamburger Hills forever. What a suprise. This is Lewis' premire performance as a parapelligiac in zealous Ireland as a soccer goalie and kickaround deformed bastard. Deaf dumb mute and deformed, he was a hardcore as it gets. The opening scene shows him saving a goal with a cleat to the skull, only to be later kicked up stairs by his peer group of young Irish ruffians. "He's the Devil's child I tell you!" Later we learn that he has a highly developed mind under that deformed flesh, after learning how to write. He was truly in love with his tutor and she loved him. A classic Beauty and the Beast theme. A Beastlord Slavedragon
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