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Let me state at the outset that I have Cerebral Palsy and I went into this film expecting to have to make allowances for the lead performance. I left the theater half-convinced that they'd cast an actor who had Cerebral Palsy in the role, even though I knew that was not the case. The performances were generally excellent, with a special nod to Brenda Fricker and to Hugh O'Conner (I believe that's his name) as the young Christy Brown. Christy is talented, brash, arrogant, at times vulgar and petulant-in other words, human. This film, along with Gaby: A True Story and the documentary King Gimp, are excellent portrayals of life with CP. By no means a complete portrait, but fine examples of the disabled as human beings. Most highly recommended.
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.
Daniel Day Lewis is one of the best actors of our time and one of my
favorites. It is amazing how much he throws himself in each of the
characters he plays making them real.
I remember, many years ago, we had a party in our house - the friends came over, we were sitting around the table, eating, drinking the wine, talking, laughing - having a good time. The TV was on - there was a movie which we did not pay much attention to. Then, suddenly, all of us stopped talking and laughing. The glasses did not clink, the forks did not move, the food was getting cold on the plates. We could not take our eyes off the screen where the young crippled man whose entire body was against him and who only had a control over his left foot, picked up a piece of chalk with his foot and for what seemed the eternity tried to write just one word on the floor. When he finished writing that one word, we all knew that we had witnessed not one but three triumphs - the triumph of a human will and spirit, the triumph of the cinema which was able to capture the moment like this on the film, and the triumph of an actor who did not act but who became his character.
Jim Sheridan's "My Left Foot" is an riveting, unsentimental bio-drama about Christy Brown, the man who was born with cerebral palsy in a Dublin slum; who became an artist and a writer and who found a love of his life.
I like every one of Day Lewis's performances (I have mixed feelings about his performance in GONY) but I believe that his greatest role was Christy Brown in "My Left Foot"
I am in awe of Daniel Day-Lewis' acting in this movie. I can't think of
anyone else who could have portrayed the real-life writer Christy Brown as
well as he does. He doesn't just portray the ravages of cerebral palsy of
his character but the intelligence, humour, courage and love of the man.
The character also is not deemed a saint but allowed to have humanity - the
foul mouth and love of booze and women. If a movie can be called inspiring
than this has to be it.
Lewis and Brenda Fricker as his mother both won Oscars and Ray McAnally as his father also deserved one. The movie is well directed by Jim Sheridan with whom Lewis again worked with in the excellent In The Name Of The Father as well as The Boxer.
As someone who has lived with cerebral palsey for over forty years, I find
this movie to be inspirational. If someone with such a severe case of CP
Christie Brown has can do so much, then there's no reason that I couldn't
achieve my own dreams. Daniel Day-Lewis and Brenda Fricker both give
Even if you know absolutely nothing about Ireland, you have to love "My
Left Foot" (and especially Daniel Day-Lewis' performance in it). He
plays cerebral palsy-afflicted Christy Brown. Due to this, he has spent
most of his life ostracized. Even when trying to warn people about
something, they just laugh at him. The light in the darkness for him is
that he has control over one body part: his left foot. He uses that
appendage to paint and write poetry, bringing him to prominence.
Daniel Day-Lewis and director Jim Sheridan did very well on this collaboration, and also on a later collaboration: "In the Name of the Father" (but "The Boxer" was unnecessary). "My Left Foot" can make you feel many ways: sad, hopeful, or something else. But in any case, Daniel Day-Lewis gave the performance of a lifetime here. A great movie in every sense.
I can still remember the fuss that was made when this movie was first released. Everybody was applauding it. 14 years down the line the film is very dated, but still very enjoyable but more importantly very powerful. The story centers around Poet, artist and author to be Christy Brown. He suffers from Celerbal Paulsy (I hope that is spelled right) which means to be all three of the above occupations is some feat that should not go unnoticed. He lives in a large family (13 children, not all who suffered) in a small terraced house in Dublin's City Center. The movie begins with his birth and the late great Ray Mc Nally being told by a nurse that there were complications during the birth. We move forward a couple years to where we see a young Christy (played by Hugh O'Connor) being helped around by his mother. It is a sad sight to see him underneath the stairs of his family home watching his brothers and sisters (all Abled bodied) living a normal lifestyle (despite being poor) and knowing that he is just as well able to communicate. The finest scene in this early stage of his life is when Christy writes for the first time. In front of his family. His father is sceptical at first however his opinion is reversed when Christy finally proves that he is not the idiot that everybody thinks him to be. We then move to Christy's later teenage years where he meets a nurse with whose help he begins to learn how articulate his words. However Christy becomes infatuated with this lady. His mother is delighted that her son is happy however his father is once again the sceptic but this time he has good cause to as Christy's heart is broken when this woman announces that she is engaged to an Art dealer. This film is brilliant and I have a massive amount of praise for Daniel Day-Lewis who portrays Christy as an angry young man who is coming to terms with everything in his life. He is disturbed by womens reluctance to accept him and his condition, He is fed up of his fathers treatment of his mother and his siblings. Day-Lewis is totally immersed in his character and it is one of his finest roles. I have seen old interviews with the real Christy Brown and I can safely say that it is hard at times to distinguish is it Christy Brown or Daniel Day-Lewis on the screen. However the show is stolen from him by the finer performances of young Hugh O'Connor and Ray Mc Nally. Both of whom should have got Oscars as Best Supporting Actor (O'Connor) and Best Actor (Ray Mc Nally). O'Connor definitely proves himself in the role because he portrays the same qualities that Day-Lewis does as a frustrated youngster. Mc Nally defines the typical Irish Father role that would be made humorous by Colm Meaney in a number of films. It is such a great pity that he died shortly after this film. Brenda Fricker must also be mentioned as the doting mother who does everything that she can to help Christy reach his full potential. Again she is life like to Christy Browns real life mother however I think there were more deserving people for that Best Supporting Actress Oscar. This film is an amazing piece of independent film making and it really does so the potential of Jim Sheridan as a director and actor. He would further develop the themes of family, Irish society, loyalty in his other films. 9 out of 10.
"My left foot" teaches us (or at least it should teach us) one important lesson: handicapped people aren't necessarily retarded, they can just as well be far more intelligent than any of us. I know that this sounds corny but come on, that's how many of us tend to still feel just because we can walk. This is a true story of a poor Irishman who suffers from a case of cerebral palsy and still eventually becomes a celebrated writer and painter only by using his left foot. When you know this much you can fill in the rest. I'm not saying his story isn't touching, of course it is. I'm saying that the movie is predictable and the terrific performances is what you will eventually remember. Oscar awarded Daniel Day-Lewis was spectacular as Christy Brown and we certainly shouldn't forget Hugh O'Conor who was just fantastic as young Christy. Movie that deserves to be seen.
The most important thing about this movie is the brilliant performance by Daniel Day-Lewis and Hugh O'Conor as Christy Brown, guineas artist and fighter who despite of her physical condition overcame all the odds. As a person who did work with patients with cerebral palsy, I can assure you that their performance were shockingly convincing. The enormous support that Christy got form his family, low-income, working class Dubliners, encouraged him to do the impossible and this picture depicted this support brilliantly have not read the book, but the dialogs were written wisely to capture Christy Brown's witty arrogant personality. I do recommend this movie to everyone, especially to classic movie-lovers.
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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