Daniel Day-Lewis won a much-deserved Oscar for his wily, passionate performance as Irish artist and writer Christy Brown, whose cerebral palsy kept him confined to a wheelchair. Filmmaker Jim Sheridan (In the Name of the F... more »ather) adapts Brown's own autobiography for this spirited piece, focusing on the sometimes-difficult fellow's formative years in his large family and in love with sundry women. Day-Lewis is inspired, and Brenda Fricker (also a recipient of an Oscar for her part in this movie) is almost luminous as Christy's dedicated mother. So, too, are Ray McAnally as the hero's stormy father, and Hugh O'Conor (The Young Poisoner's Handbook) as the child Christy. All in all, this is a complete pleasure for viewers. --Tom Keogh« less
D. Anderson | Alexandria, VA United States | 06/17/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is an amazingly good movie, and film performances don't get any more compelling than those delivered here by Daniel Day-Lewis and Brenda Fricker. Day-Lewis's portrayal of Christy Brown and his handicap is so convincing that it is difficult to believe that Day-Lewis is not actually stricken with Cerebral Palsy. But his portrayal, like the Irish writer and artist he portrays, gets far beyond the physical challenges of the disease. He conveys a warmth, humor, and human intensity that avoids cloying sentimentality. In terms of the movie content, I can only echo the superlatives of the previous reviewers. The film itself deserves 5+ stars.Unfortunately, the DVD transfer is not what I had hoped for. The picture is not noticeably better than on VHS. It is not particularly clear or vivid, and the red hues bleed a bit (like on an aging VHS tape). Perhaps most distracting, there are specks of dirt visible on the image (particularly in light areas, like sky), and there are dust and lint artifacts throughout the transfer. I don't know if all of these flaws were part of the original, master copy, but it looks like they just made a quick transfer from a film copy they had handy. It's a shame that such a fine movie, which won 2 Academy Awards, did not merit more care in the transfer to DVD.In short, this a triumphant movie that merits seeing (and owning). But if you have a VHS copy in working order, you won't get much added value from buying the DVD."
A movie I will forever remember!
C. G. Holcombe | North Florida | 09/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Parents out there: let me put it to you this way...My parents are very conservative, but appreciate great acting when they see it. So, G and only some PG movies were my only viewings. At the age of 7, my mother saw this on VHS, she immediately had me watch it with the rest of the family. This movie will reach your inner soul and make you see that physical and mental disabilities only hold a person back if they let it. This story of Christy Brown, who was born with cerebral palsy teaches himself and learns to paint and write with his only controllable limb - his left foot. It's based on his autobiography which he typed one letter at a time on his typewriter. Now, I do admit that you'll have trouble understanding Christy sometimes, caused by his disease. My family had me "translate" what they couldn't understand (I was deaf for a short time of my life, so I related more to the story). When I have children, I plan to allow them to watch this life changing movie. I will forever remember it, because the true story of Christy Brown touched me deeply. Wait until you see it, you'll know what I'm talking about afterwards. "
An uplifting tale about living life on one's own terms and o
Veggiechiliqueen | 09/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Christy Brown was born to a large Dublin family (he had 13 surviving siblings) in 1932. Born with severe athetoid cerebral palsy, Christy was unable to speak or control his limbs. At that time, the only course of action was to institutionalize CP children, but Christy's loving family refused to do so, so he grew up as one of the gang: participating in alley football matches, being dragged around town in his wheelbarrow, and included in family dinners. For years, Christy was unable to speak or communicate, until he discovers that he can write with his left foot, the only limb that he can partially control. His mother (Brenda Fricker, who won an Oscar for her performance) loves him with all her heart, but fears that he is retarded as well, until one day, pouring sweat and out of breath from his exertions, he writes "Mother" on the floor with a piece of chalk. His family is dumbfounded.
Christy progresses to painting with his left foot. As Christy enters adulthood, he meets Dr. Eileen, who wants him to participate at a new cerebral palsy clinic in Dublin. Christy goes once, but is shamed and uncomfortable around so many others like him, and demands to be taken home instead. Dr. Eileen starts making house visits to work with Christy on controlling muscle spasms, breath control, and how to speak more clearly. Christy quickly falls in love with Eileen, attempting to recite and memorize Shakespeare in order to win her love. His mother says darkly, "There's too much hope in his voice. A broken body doesn't need a broken heart."
Eileen and her fiancé arrange an exhibition of Christy's paintings, and at a disastrous dinner afterwards, Christy gets stone drunk and makes a scene as Eileen relays her engagement to Peter. "Congratulations on your wonderful news," Christy spits bitterly, sarcastically. "I'm glad you taught me how to speak so I could say that, Eileen."
After his heartbreak, Christy attempts multiple times to commit suicide, but the continuing love and support of his family keeps him above water, if barely. His parents build him a room of his own where he can paint and write in peace. Christy's father dies soon afterwards, and Christy publishes his autobiography in order to earn money for his family.
The movie's narrative structure is unique as well: the film begins with Christy getting ready to go to a benefit, and throughout the film we cut back to the present as he waits to go on, where a nurse reads his autobiography, and back to Christy's past.
Daniel Day-Lewis (adult Christy) and Hugh O'Connor (young Christy) are a seamless transition. It is obvious that both spent time in CP clinics observing the behavior, movements and mannerisms of CP patients; they portray Christy with sensitivity and an eye for how difficult the simplest things were for him.
This is an incredible movie. After seeing "Rory O'Shea Was Here," another film about CP adults and caregivers (including Brenda Fricker), I wanted to see "My Left Foot" for myself after reading so many comparisons. The Special Edition DVD features several trailers for other Miramax films and a making-of, featuring vintage footage of Christy's family and interviews with his mother. My only disappointment was the terrible transfer quality of the DVD; the film was grainy, with multiple specks of dust and dirt on every frame, and looked more like a worn-out VHS tape. Shame on Miramax for calling this remastered.
The film is rated R (profanity, domestic violence, suicide attempts and massive alcohol use). "
He really nailed it!
AL.W PITTMAN | anderson, in United States | 06/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For a long time I didn't want to see this movie, why?, it would remind me of my youth, born with a birth defect that skips through many generations of my family, serious? kind of, I went to a school for crippled children up until high school, after that, a normal life, looking back on that experience, I always thought that kids with C/P got dealt the absolute worst hand for life that could happen, 90-100% dependent on some one else for everything. Daniel Day Lewis gets my tear soaked award for nailing just what a person with C/P has to endure through life, his speech, movements, 100% accurate, he must have spent a hell of a lot of time with these unfortunate people to master his performance, brilliant!, I have a real soft spot in my heart for those souls that have to struggle through life with a birth defect, it's not easy, I help and bless them. This might not be a film for tender hearted people, I struggled with it, glad I did, it might open some people's eyes to real struggles."
The triumph of life and all that is beautiful...
Andrew Ellington | I'm kind of everywhere | 03/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The true story of Christy Brown is one of remarkable strength and courage and one that is sure to warm your heart and lift your soul. Biopic's tend to shoot for the heart as much as possible; who wants to watch a movie about someone they can't sympathize with; but `My Left Foot' doesn't have to twist facts or reimagine elements of Brown's life in order to earn our affection.
`My Left Foot' tells us of Brown's life from the very beginning, starting with his birth, moving through his childhood, adolescence and then eventually adulthood. Born with cerebral palsy, Christy Brown lived most of his young life regarded as a dunce, a burden on his parents and a laughing stock to the community. Aside from his devoted mother, who never gave up faith in him, Christy really had no one in his corner. That is until he discovered that with his left foot he could write, and eventually paint. This is the remarkable true story of a man who had everything against him yet was able to become more than many people with everything going for them ever become. This is the story of the painter, the poet, the author; the man Christy Brown.
Lacking the glossy Hollywood veneer of many American-Made biopic films today, `My Left Foot' can at times come off like a made-for-television movie. I think that is just the way a lot of these `British/Irish' movies are shot (except for the marvelous `Once' which is beautifully polished for an independent film) but it appears a little cheap sometimes, grainy and gritty. It's a small and maybe fickle complaint, but a complaint nonetheless.
What never comes across as `TV' quality though, are the powerful performances by the entire cast. Daniel Day-Lewis has obviously taken the brunt of the praise heaped upon this film, and rightfully so. His portrayal of Christy is marvelously controlled and delivered with such masterful knowledge and understanding. He never seems to be acting. The real star to me though was Brenda Fricker who was so genuine and mesmerizing as Christie's loyally devoted mother. Without a gimmick to fall back on, Fricker had to work double hard to captivate us while acting alongside Day-Lewis, and she succeeds with flying colors.
The rest of the cast does a great job as well. Ray McAnally is believable as Christy's father, and Fiona Shaw shows considerable warmth as Dr. Eileen Cole, Christy's first real love. Hugh O'Conor is marvelous as the young Christy, perfectly matching Day-Lewis' mastery of the disease raking through his body. Lastly I want to mention Ruth McCabe's gentle performance as Mary, the woman who eventually gives her heart to Christy. She only appears in small scenes spaced throughout the film but she adds such warmth to the film.
`My Left Foot' is a beautiful story of love and life and power in all of us to survive. Christy Brown's life is one to marvel over; his struggles, pains and eventual triumphs all come together to create a wonderful miracle that is so rewarding to witness."