My Left Foot

  • 1989
  • Movie
  • R
  • Biography

Stories about people overcoming devastating handicaps have long been grist for the filmmaker's mill. The title of this screen adaptation of Christy Brown's best-selling autobiography refers to the only limb over which Brown, crippled since birth by a severe case of cerebral palsy, ever had any control. Daniel Day-Lewis plays the acclaimed Irish-born artist...read more

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Stories about people overcoming devastating handicaps have long been grist for the filmmaker's mill. The title of this screen adaptation of Christy Brown's best-selling autobiography refers to the only limb over which Brown, crippled since birth by a severe

case of cerebral palsy, ever had any control. Daniel Day-Lewis plays the acclaimed Irish-born artist and author, as the film intercuts flashbacks of his formative years with scenes at a stately Dublin home in 1959. There, the wheelchair-bound Brown, guest of honor at a benefit dinner for a

cerebral palsy foundation, first meets Mary (Ruth McCabe), a young nurse assigned to care for him for the evening. Presented with a copy of Brown's book, Mary leafs through its pages, and the author's life is re-created on the screen, beginning with his early years as the ninth of 13 surviving

children (out of 22) in a close-knit, working-class Irish Catholic family. That MY LEFT FOOT succeeds as well as it does is in large part due to a superb supporting cast and the virtuoso performances of Hugh O'Conor and Day-Lewis, who play Brown as child and adult, respectively. Undoubtedly, MY

LEFT FOOT begs comparison with GABY, A TRUE STORY, the depiction of another cerebral palsy survivor. Indeed, the films are like two sides of the same coin. While the less satisfying GABY focuses on the dour aspects of its subject's plight, the better-scripted, more entertaining MY LEFT FOOT is

filled with wit and unselfconscious humor. To Brown's credit, his portrayal is unerringly tough, sometimes surprisingly sensual. It keeps FOOT from maudlin static. A rich cinematic experience, this uplifting British production will leave you in awe of the extraordinary Christy Brown.

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  • Released: 1989
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Stories about people overcoming devastating handicaps have long been grist for the filmmaker's mill. The title of this screen adaptation of Christy Brown's best-selling autobiography refers to the only limb over which Brown, crippled since birth by a sever… (more)

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