A drama based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas. In 1935, he inspired students to form the school's first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship.
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 write with. Written by
Daniel Day-Lewis deserved all of his acting awards...
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS does a remarkable job of playing Christy Brown, the artist who grew up with cerebral palsy but managed to have a productive life, dealing successfully with his handicap and becoming a respected artist and writer.
The film, however, is a very difficult one to review--or even watch. Fortunately, I had the caption feature on to catch every spoken word which would have been impossible if I saw the film in a theater. While I respect it as a brave piece of work dealing with difficult subject matter, I can't say it's the sort of film I'd want to view more than once.
Nevertheless, my attention was held by the story-telling device, a flashback framed by the present, in which we see Christy being honored for his achievements before we see the flashback to his youth and his struggles to communicate with those around him, who certainly gave him loving care.
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS certainly is remarkable as the troubled man who falls in love with a therapist (FIONA SHAW), much to his mother's fear that when the love is not reciprocated his heart will be broken. There's a painfully long scene in a restaurant where he confesses his love to her before others and then goes into a frenzied rage after drinking too much.
BRENDA FRICKER does a brilliant job as the mother taking care of him, his father and a brood of siblings while struggling to keep a roof over their heads until Day-Lewis begins to have success with his work. She complements Day-Lewis' performance as the warm-hearted mother and shares many poignant moments with him.
Richly detailed story of a family that stayed together under the most unusual of circumstances with attention to period detail in every frame of the film. Both Fricker and Day-Lewis won Oscars, but HUGH O'CONOR and RAY McANALLY are also excellent. O'Conor is Christy as a boy and McAnally is the father who spends too much time at the local pub but loves the boy.
Summing up: Elmer Bernstein's music is an added plus factor. Well worthwhile, but definitely not a film for everyone.
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