My Left Foot Movie Review

One of cinema's most infamously hoity-toity titles covers one of its most infamously arty topics: An Irish writer/painter with cerebral palsy who can only use his left foot -- and barely, at that. Never mind the eye-rolling and the nay-saying. My Left Foot is a heartfelt and soulful movie. And while you'll know you're watching an art movie when you sit down to ogle it, you're not going to find a film dripping with saccharine or even shrouded in subtitles. This is just good old-fashioned filmmaking that just so happens to be about a guy that can barely move.

Christy Brown (who died eight years before this film was made) was born with C.P. and pretty much assumed by his family to be retarded beyond hope until -- as a pre-teen -- he proved he could scrawl a word on the floor with his toes. Encouraged by his mother (Brenda Fricker), Christy learns to read and write, and even paint. Meanwhile, of course, adversity waits at every turn.

Much of the pricelessness of My Left Foot comes from Daniel Day-Lewis's spot-on portrayal of Brown, the first acting job that made critics and awards voters really take notice of him. He won the Oscar for the job, in fact. Brown wasn't a saint. He was more the stereotypical Irish drunk, a surly fellow made even more difficult by his severe handicaps. And yet, he's a genius. What can you do?

The first film from director Jim Sheridan -- the unofficial chronicler of Ireland for the last 15 years -- My Left Foot would hint at a talent that we'd soon get to see in all it's glory. Now available on a cleaned-up DVD, the disc includes about 15 minutes of extras, most notably footage of the real Christy Brown, which is instructive in seeing how accurate Day-Lewis's portrayal really was.


Comments

My Left Foot Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: R, 1989

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