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United Kingdom 1989
Directed by
Jim Sheridan
103 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4.5 stars

My Left Foot

Scripted by director Jim Sheridan with Shane Connaughton from Christy Brown's autobiographical writings, My Left Foot delivers a message about physical handicap that although having a tendency towards sentimentalism does not indulge in the mawkish but brings home the amazing courage that some people manifest in facing life's slings and arrows.

The strength of the film is that it is not just a true story of real triumph over adversity but the triumpher is not some sainted hero sanitized by the conventions of a genre readily susceptible to superficialities but a rough-and-ready Irishman with the soul of an artist and a wicked sense of humour, Sheridan rightly (no doubt also partly determined by a limited budget) keeps a strongly realist approach to his subject matter..

Over and above the inspirational nature of the story however, the film boasts a brilliant, unmissable and Oscar-winning performance from Daniel Day-Lewis as real-life Dublin writer and cerebral palsy sufferer, (Hugh O'Conor gives an effective performance as the young Christy). The actor had turned heads with his first major role in My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) and had had a very different role in the Merchant-Ivory hit A Room With A View (1986) but his performance here is an another league all-together. Brenda Fricker won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress for her role as Brown's mother and champion.




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