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My Left Foot Review

Christy Brown was an Irish painter and writer who was one of 14 surviving children of Irish catholic, Bridget Brown. Christy was born with severe cerebral palsy. Unable to move himself or speak, he was also presumed mentally disabled, despite this, his mother continued to speak and nurture him. He finally gained control over the movement of his left foot, upon discovering this, Bridget painstakingly taught Christy how to write and draw, using only his left foot. At the age of 19, he was given ground breaking muscle therapy, which earned him the power of speech.

So why am I telling you all this? Well, mainly to highlight the poignancy of a remarkable and harrowing true story. This isn't a yarn dreamt up by 50 writers in a board room. It is an autobiographical story, relaying the experiences of a man who has pushed the limit of human endeavour. Taking on this story for adaptation is a brave move in itself, it has to be dealt with sensitively and done well, lest they insult one of history's true geniuses. Luckily Jim Sheridan knew exactly who could play his lead role, without turning it into a farce.

I have always been a fan of Daniel Day-Lewis, renowned for his Oscar winning performances, but if you consider the level of discipline he adopted in portraying Christy Brown, you see why his shelves need reinforcing.

* DDL refused to leave the wheel chair in between takes.
* DDL often refused to break character for lunch, and had to be fed by his friends.
* He broke 2 ribs in his performance, due to his thrashing movements and slumped position in the wheelchair.

As a result you cannot fail to read a sense of frustration in every movement of his performance, from his futile suicide attempts to his heartbroken outbursts on platonic love. This film is by no means a one man show however, there are a number of remarkable performances, most notably that of Brenda Fricker as the long suffering Mrs Brown and the child actor Hugh O'Connor as young Christy, who out acts many adult professionals.




This is a beautiful film, which is only enhanced by the charming conventions of British cinema, which I so adore. Understated, subtle and social realist, yet by no means depressing. The occasional hi-jinks of the Brown boys, place intermittent moments of comic relief, which stop the film taking itself too seriously. I could not recommend this film more. Brilliant yarn, superbly acted, emotional roller coaster, reassuring and reaffirming.

10/10
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Added by GemLil
12 years ago on 28 August 2008 21:25