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' almost impossible performance as a man with cerebral palsy earned him a well-deserved Oscar in 1989 for Best Actor over the heavily favoured Tom Cruise in 'Born on the Fourth of July' and Morgan Freeman in 'Driving Miss Daisy'. The Academy was still riding the wave of awarding Dustin Hoffman a second Best Actor prize a year earlier for his performance as a mentally challenged individual in 'Rain Man' and since Day-Lewis' performance was superior to Hoffman's, the Academy had to recognize him. Day-Lewis probably would have won anyway as his performance was hard to ignore and he had never received any acting nominations from the Academy before this film despite turning in great work in such films as 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being' and 'My Beautiful Laundrette.'
As Christy Brown, Daniel Day-Lewis makes his character unsympathetic as he doesn't want you to feel sorry for him. He achieved the great success of being an accomplished writer and artist. Director Jim Sheridan directs the film like a series of home movies that millions want to see.
Brenda Fricker won the Oscar as Best Supporting Actress as Brown's mother and she is the real moral centre of the film and this film proves that Hollywood is capable of choosing small, lesser known films for Oscar consideration and 'My Left Foot' is a film that is uplifting without being sentimental.
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